I've spent different Thanksgivings in 5 countries on 4 continents and in 5 US states.
21 years ago I spent Turkey Day in the Netherlands when I was here as a foreign exchange student. Honestly, I have no recollection of that particular day. It's possible the family I was living with did something special but I don't remember.
Then there were all the years I was away at university. I know I went home a couple times and there was one that involved beer-soaked pork chops and ice skating with a couple friends and the year I flew to LA and drove to Las Vegas with Terri and her friend Ty but the rest were apparently not remarkable enough to imprint themselves on my memory.
I spent 2 T-days in Ghana. The first was a typical Ghanaian experience. Rob and Hilary and I decided to go to Tim's. We sent word via tro-tro. He never got the message. Tim decided he wanted to go somewhere and showed up at Hilary's. He and Hilary they sent word to Rob and I via tro-tro (tro messages were the best and worst way to contact people). We didn't get the messages. I showed up at Tim's, talked to his Japanese roommate, found out he wasn't there and left. Rob showed up much later, spent the night and came to my house the next day. I ate the loaf of pumpkin bread Brenda had made for me as my T-day dinner (she made the most yummiest pumpkin bread I've ever had!). There wasn't any left by the time Rob arrived. It was weeks or longer before we saw Tim or Hilary to find out what had happened.
The next year a large group of us gathered at Jesse's site and made a huge meal. I invited one of the teachers from my school and I pounded mashed potatoes in a fufu pounder. I remember Erica helping me. Tim brought a live turkey. I have no idea who did the killing and plucking. For most of the years since I returned from Ghana I've eaten groundnut soup on T-day. It's a spicy peanut Ghanaian soup that's pretty much my favorite food on the planet. Except for 2008 when I was in Afghanistan. I know the DFAC (dining facility) there had a big dinner but somehow we had a turkey (shipped in dry ice or something) and our compound a the time had a full kitchen (that has since changed and now folks only have the DFACs) so we put together a full meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and...other stuff that I can't recall.
Two years ago, a few weeks after I arrived back here in NL, while still living in a hotel room I attempted to go to the communal dinner offered by the base. I didn't know the conference center where it was being held isn't on the base proper. I tried to find it but wasn't successful. Last year I went to Barcelona.
Yesterday, I came to work for a couple hours. Since I wasn't required to work I wasn't required to show up at my normal time so I slept an extra hour. I brought the pumpkin pies someone was nice enough to pick up from the commissary for me since I was at work until 7pm on Wed (pies that had to be baked for 75min! so I was up rather late). I had to look up the German word for pumpkin as one of the Germans asked me what was in the pie and he didn't understand the English or Dutch words for pumpkin. Sometimes Dutch and German are pretty close. Other times, not. Pumpkin in Dutch = ponpoen. In German = kurbis. So I learned a new German word. After getting done everything I had hoped to get done I went to the dentist (teeth are clean and there were no problems). Next I went to the gym and met with my trainer. It was a beautiful day yesterday (sunny with temps in the upper 40s) so I took the dogs to the back fields to run and I jogged with them (yes, after working out with the trainer). Then I got on my bike and went to the centrum to get a few things I needed for some goodie boxes I'm sending to a couple friends. Yes, I was quite tired after all that! Finally I tucked into a nice bowl of roasted curried sweet potato soup (I would have made groundnut soup but I had the pot of sweet potato soup I made this past weekend and it seemed appropriate) and talked to the family via Skype. The dogs ate a bag of cute Dutch house-shaped chocolates I had bought for one of the goodie boxes so I figured they didn't need any additional treats for dinner. It was a very productive day.
I'm thankful I have a body that puts up with shenanigans like trainer then jogging then biking all in one day. I'm thankful I have the means and ability to prepare almost all my food from scratch using real, whole ingredients (it could be all my food but I occasionally indulge in a pizza or Thai take-out or ice cream and, of course, CHOCOLATE (which is a little more than an occasional indulgence!)). I'm thankful for chocolate!! Oh, and good dental care :) I thankful I have a life that has afforded me the opportunity to be on 4 different continents so far!
I wonder where I'll be next year on Turkey Day. I think, one of these years, I'll have to go to Turkey just so I can say I spent Turkey day in Turkey :)