Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving Thanks in Thailand

This year's Thanksgiving was very different from previous years in almost every way. For starters, it was hot and humid on Thanksgiving Day this year. Also, with four days off, our tradition usually was to get together with my parents for a Chinese-American feast on the day of the holiday, with traditional Thanksgiving fare and Chinese food. The next few days might be spent attending holiday festivities in our area, decorating for Christmas, and seeing friends.

This year, Thanksgiving Day was business as usual here. The day actually snuck up on us because there was no fanfare about it at all. With the day being a regular school day and no oven in our kitchen, we thought we would skip the holiday this year and let the day pass like any other day.

I was missing our annual tradition with my family, but the ex-pat community being what it is here, with people looking out for and supporting each other (one of the things I love about being here), we were invited by another family to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. There was a beautifully cooked turkey (they have an oven in their kitchen), mashed potatoes, broccoli, apple sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and Bailey's Irish cream, all homemade (one gets very good at making one's own food living in a country where western items are hard to find) and incredibly tasty. We brought over mashed pumpkin/squash, stuffing, and my husband's amazing homemade pasta. We also had wine for the second time since arriving here. It was pretty good wine, but like all western things, good wine also is rare in Thailand.
Thanksgiving dinner.
It was a great evening filled with eating, drinking, chatter, and laughter. It was so much fun. Sitting there, amidst the chatter and laughter, I realized how happy I felt. I hadn't felt that way in a long time. It was wonderful.

Friday night, we celebrated Thanksgiving again with another group of friends, this time Thai style at a restaurant. It was another great night with a few of our favorite people here. One of them is a fourth-grade teacher who is amazing with little kids, whom my son just adores and who adores my son as well. Another wonderful meal -- green papaya salad, green mango with shrimp salad, green curry with bamboo, pad see ew, cashew chicken, and fried rice. It was a perfect, low-key way to end our week.
Our view at dinner.
Accompanying our dinner was the soothing sound of the fountain in the lake.
From left to right: Cashew chicken, green curry, and green papaya salad (the dish on the right were some extra toppings).
During these celebrations, I realized that, for the first time in a long time, it seemed like all the parts of my life were finally coming together like pieces of a puzzle. I felt such genuine gratitude (and that is rare for me) for having the life that I now do: being able to live out my dream; having my husband and my little guy by my side as we go on this adventure together; meeting and making really amazing and kind new friends; having the wonderful friends that I do back in the U.S.; and having the means to stay connected with them. I feel empowered that I set out to change my life for the better, and have been able to accomplish this goal so far. I feel so lucky that I've been able to have this life-changing experience in this lifetime.

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