I love Thanksgiving. It may be my favorite holiday. In my opinion, nothing beats a day of being sleepy and making hand turkeys with your family in a house that smells like turkey fat, sage, and pumpkin pie spices. There’s the parade and football, too, but I don’t really go for either. And one can never forget the traditional waiting for the corn pudding to be done so that we can finally eat the damn turkey.
But I am in France, and my family is not. I wasn’t home for Thanksgiving last year, either, but this is different. I was still in the right country, at least.
I am nevertheless determined to be grateful. I was planning to make a list of things I was thankful for and post it here, being semi-sarcastic and snarky so as to avoid seeming too mushy and sentimental. But then, as a bunch of friends and I were cooking up a Friday-night Fakesgiving dinner, doing our best with no cranberries or turkey or even oven, I realized that I am actually genuinely grateful for this.
I’ve got to be honest: I sort of thought I was done making friends at the end of last year. Like I had somehow exhausted all the social connections I could make at UChicago and that there was no one new to meet. Or at least no one new I would want to meet.
But then I got to France, and I actually made more friends. Like, real, good friends. Not just the single-serving kind you make, Tyler-Durden-style, to tide yourself over until you get home, but the kind that you have profoundly stupid inside jokes with and who will tolerate you when you are trying to walk to the tram after 3 glasses of school-provided wine and speaking atrocious franglais.
And who will, as it were, gather together and make Thanksgiving with you.
Sure, our turkey might have been a rotisserie chicken from the Halal boucherie, and we might have had almost exclusively potato-based side dishes, and we might have been drinking wine out of empty applesauce jars, but, damn it, it was Thanksgiving, and we were together. As the first snow of the season was falling outside with a vengeance, we were boiling and mashing and cutting and toasting and making fun of me for playing the organ version of “We Gather Together” on repeat.
And so it wasn’t even a Fakesgiving after all. We made all the food and felt all the warmth, and that’s the point, isn’t it? I wasn’t tiding myself over anymore; I’m pretty sure I was feasting.
In a literal sense too, of course.
- November 27 2010 | - Read More →