Eight Thanksgivings Away

Yesterday marked our 8th consecutive Thanksgiving overseas. We moved to South Africa the week before Thanksgiving in 2010. I couldn’t remember what we did for the holiday so I searched my Gmail to see what was going on that week. How depressing. I had a stomach flu, but I was out of sick leave because I’d given birth to Charlotte only a few months earlier and of course, I did not get any maternity leave. So, I had to work that week. I was anxious because our housekeeper was watching the baby and I had only just met her (we hadn’t hired Mapule, our au pair, yet). No one invited us to Thanksgiving dinner because we were so new to post, but I was too tired from working, being sick, and worrying about the baby to go anywhere, anyway.

Despite that inauspicious start to our overseas adventures, we have so many wonderful memories of the 7 Thanksgivings since. From introducing the tradition to our lovely South African neighbors, to Sara’s incredible cooking and baking in Ethiopia, to meeting our amazing friend group in Yangon and spending three Thanksgivings in a row with the same people: we are so blessed, even though it’s hard to be far away from our family.

This year, we spent the day with a group of Yangon old-timers. (After you’ve been an expat in the same place for a few years, you are considered an old-timer.) The past three years have flown by, and I can’t believe we only have a year and a half left here. When we arrived, we had a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old, and my life was all about juggling nap times and working hours; now they are both so independent and self-sufficient. In fact, I don’t even know where they are right now… I should probably go check on them; it’s pretty quiet.

Anyway, yesterday was lovely. These are the kind of friends who surprise you with a beautiful birthday cake because you’ve been whining about how your husband didn’t make you one. The kinds of friends who you can count on when you’re facing a truly awful situation. The ones who know all your best stories already (mostly spider- and/or penis-related), but don’t mind so much if you bring them up again.

I’m sharing some photos so you can get a sense of how great these people are. The kids run around and play, the adults enjoy good food and drinks and conversation. They’re simply good people, and we are so thankful for them.

[All photos made with Fuji x100t, which frustrates me to no end with its slow autofocus; but I can’t complain too much, because it’s light as a feather.]

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