Today is Thanksgiving … well, sort of. Canadian Thanksgiving came and went weeks ago, but this was the first year that I didn’t celebrate at all. On October 12, I had just recently arrived in France and was thousands of kilometres away from my family; more importantly, since I didn’t have a single friend in France yet, I had nobody to celebrate with. In the end, Canadian Thanksgiving went almost unacknowledged here in Domfront (except for my attempt at making an apple crisp without brown sugar. Trust me, it’s better with brown sugar).
For all of these reasons, I’ve decided to adopt American Thanksgiving as my own this year. Not only did I enjoy a super fancy Thanksgiving meal tonight,* but ever since last week, I have basically been masquerading as an American in class by using the upcoming holiday as an opportunity to teach my students about both the Canadian and American versions of Thanksgiving. Today, my 11-year-olds and I made handprint turkeys and talked about what we are thankful for. The kids’ suggestions were cute and more than a little funny (“video games,” “Xbox One,” and “lego” were among the more popular ideas). As well as making me smile, today’s activity got me thinking about what I am thankful for at this point in the year. I hope you’ll excuse a little bit of sappiness today … I promise it’s a relatively rare occurrence!
- I’m thankful for my job that allows me to live abroad and travel. It’s not always easy living in France, what with the slight language barrier, cultural differences, occasional loneliness, and confusing administration, but I’m forever grateful to be here.
- I’m thankful for my students, because even though they drive me up the wall half the time, they are teaching me so much (maybe even more than I am teaching them).
- I am thankful for my teacher colleagues and their kindness, encouragement, and appreciation.
- I am thankful for all the teachers and professors I’ve had, from elementary school to university and outside of school too, whose good example I try to emulate in my own teaching.
- I am thankful for my health and safety; recent events here in France have made me realize that these should not be taken for granted.
- I am thankful for my friends back home in Canada/America, who are surprisingly good both at keeping in touch and at rescheduling phone/skype calls when we inevitably forget about our pre-arranged times. They are also great travel companions!
- I am thankful for my new friends and fellow assistants, because the knowledge that we are all in this together makes everything so much easier. I’m grateful for the opportunity to escape my small village once and a while and to explore new destinations with a great group of kind, funny people.
- I am thankful for all sorts of small things, including boulangeries, sunny days, pumpkin spice-scented candles, waterproof boots, the SNCF youth discount, French supermarkets that sell peanut butter, and temporary wifi connections that keep me from going completely insane.
- I am thankful for my entire family. I am thankful for my dad, who is willing to answer my 10000 medical questions when I just don’t feel like braving the French doctor and whose encouraging email reminders keep my procrastination in check (sort of); for my mom, who patiently deals with me at my worst and always cheers me up when I call home in tears because I am lonely and homesick; for my sister, who listens to me rant about teaching problems and then reduces me to fits of laughter with some funny story or video; for my brother, who is probably the sweetest person I know (even though he fails at keeping in contact!); and for my grandparents, aunt, and uncles, who never fail to let me know that I am loved. I love you all more than you know ❤
So there you have it: today I am feeling the Thanksgiving spirit way more than I did back in October. I think that basically makes me an honorary American, right?** Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
*Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration – I bought a raspberry tart at Carrefour. But that’s still kind of special, right?
**Since writing this post, I have had the title of honorary American conferred on me by my favourite*** American of all. I think that makes it official!
***However, I am not American enough to stop spelling things the correct way 😉