Yes, I know that Thanksgiving hasn't really happened yet, but when you live in a country that doesn't celebrate it (I know! Isn't that crazy?) you have to make it happen when you can.
Yesterday, Steph and I made our own pilgrimage to celebrate Thanksgiving in Paris with the Ex-Pat Gang (we really ought to have t-shirts made, doncha think?). After a car ride, a train ride, a metro ride, an RER ride, and a brief walk, we found ourselves at our destination. Around twenty people gathered to celebrate and give thanks and, of course, EAT!
I brought along a veggie platter with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (thanks to Doc, who graciously mailed me a packet just in time!), which was always a staple of Thanksgiving in my house growing up. After other tasty appetizers, we sat down to EAT! There were sweet potatoes (with marshmallows!), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Swedish meatballs, green bean casserole, real stuffing and two turkeys (of course there were other dishes as well - there were so many I can't even name them all)! At that large table, passing around heaping dishes of food, children running around the table, conversations all around, it was the closest I have ever felt to being back home since I moved here.
In fact, it felt so much like Thanksgiving, that while some of us took a little walk around the village and were marveling that the people living in the manor had left the gate open, I said, "of course they did, it's Thanksgiving! Oh... wait..."
When we returned, we all tucked into five different desserts. I brought along a pecan pie and was very pleased to receive quite a few compliments for it. And then, all too soon, we had to drink up our coffees and head out the door, to make our long journey in reverse.
All through the day, we gave thanks for our families, our friends and our good fortune to be living this adventure, even when we are so far away from home. We spoke fondly of friends who couldn't be there, and we made new friends in the process. We gave thanks in English and in French, and we celebrated our roots and our future.
After all that I have lost this year, I found that I have a world full of things to be grateful for. If that's not the meaning of Thankgiving, I don't know what is.