It’s November, and while I am falling in love with Lyon, I must admit that I do feel a bit homesick. Being away from all the things and people that I love have made me grow to appreciate a lot of more of the things I used to take for granted. While this is not the first Thanksgiving I have missed with my family, this is the first Thanksgiving that I spent by myself in a foreign country. It would have been a rather bland and boring holiday for me if not for my amazing host family.
About a month ago, my host family invited me to come along with them and some of their friends to spend a weekend up in the mountains of France. Of course I could not say no, so I went. While up in Autrans, my new family had many questions about this American holiday called Thanksgiving. So I explained to them the origins of Thanksgiving and what the day entailed. They were automatically sold. Part of me feels as though I didn’t really need to do much convincing to get my host family and friends to have a reason to have dinner together.
So, we decided that while Thanksgiving in America is traditionally celebrated on the second to last Thursday of November, we would celebrate our Thanksgiving on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. As the day approached, I prepared alongside with the Guillards for their first Thanksgiving celebration.
Everyone knows that the most important part of Thanksgiving is the turkey. When you think of Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind, at least for me, is turkey. Getting a turkey actually turned out to be one of the most difficult parts of hosting Thanksgiving in France. Florence, my host mom, explained to me that turkey was something that was usually prepared for Christmas, so we would have to search high and low for somewhere that would have a turkey this early in the year. After much searching, they were able to order a turkey at the local butcher to pick up days before the dinner.
On the day of our planned fête, the french word for party, I travelled alongside Florence and Oliver to go to the story to pick up ingredients for dinner. We kept things rather simple. On the menu was turkey, potatoes, stuffing, a fig gravy sauce, and a pumpkin purée. Our guests were able to bring some special cheeses, and dip to pair along with the food we prepared. The night was full of good food, good friends, and wine.
Although I really enjoyed the food and wine, I do have to say that my favorite part of this years Thanksgiving was realizing how thankful I am for every single aspect of my life. I think sometimes people have the tendency to think too much about the things that they are lacking. I know personally that it is something I am very guilty of doing. I’m always thinking about where I want to be, or where I need to be, that sometimes I forget how grateful I am to be exactly where I am. But this year, I was literally surrounded by unfamiliar faces in an unfamiliar country and I could not feel anything other than pure gratitude.