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Giving Gratitude

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People always ask, how can you bare not seeing your families during the holidays? The answer is simple: it’s hard as hell. Yes, it’s our decision to live in Boston/London and sometimes that requires making tough decisions. But it also does not make it any easier. The first year we lived in Boston was the hardest for me, but it was also the first Christmas we celebrated together and with Nadia’s family. We had a lovely time and it gave us the opportunity to create our own holiday traditions. Starting with Thanksgiving.

For the past few years we have celebrated Thanksgiving in Boston with our very good friend Michelle. It’s your typical American Thanksgiving Day: watching the Macy’s Parade, cooking all day long, eating a yummy dinner and always ends with us on the couch falling asleep from full stomachs. None of us are surrounded by our biological families, but Michelle is family. We are Sorority Sisters after all!

This year was really tough for me. Since it’s not a UK holiday it would be up to us to create a Thanksgiving for ourselves. Well someone was watching out for us because not only did we host a dinner, we were invited to two other dinners that week as well!

We started on the Saturday before Thanksgiving with a Vegetarian dinner at our friends Matt & Megan’s home. Now I know what you’re thinking, a Thanksgiving without Turkey?! Sounds strange! But honestly Megan made so many tasty traditional dishes that I didn’t even notice it was missing! We decided to bring a little bit of Michelle with us by creating her homemade Macaroni & Cheese. We had a little trouble finding all of the ingredients since I’m still learning how to cook here, but I think it was brilliant and a big hit at the party.

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Our next dinner, we hosted our housemates Jennie & Michelle on Thanksgiving Eve. Instead of trying to make things from scratch, I took the easy way out and ordered dinner from Whole Foods. I know it’s not everyones cup of tea, but we have done it many times before and we love how easy it is. I did my best to set a proper table and make everything look homey. I think we did a pretty good job and at the end of the night we felt it was a huge success!!

Our final dinner was a Pi Phi Thanksgiving on Sunday. We were running late from our weekend in Birmingham due to transportation issues and got there just in time for dinner. We were a small group, but we had a great time, with great company. I feel very blessed to have these ladies in my life!

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Even though we had all of these wonderful celebrations, for the first time in four years I missed being with my family on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving day was a really weird day for me. I spent most of the day working and had planned on coming home to eat leftovers and Skype with my parents. Nadia was attending a dinner at school and I had plenty to do in order to get ready for our weekend in Birmingham, so I wasn’t too worried about being alone for the evening. But as soon as I walked in the door to find Nadia still there, the waterworks started. I had my first complete homesick breakdown. It felt good to get it out, but I felt terrible because I made Nadia late for her dinner. By the time she left I was able to calm down and then my parents called. Of course the tears came rushing back and I think they even got a little teary eyed. Needless to say it was a very tough day for me. Looking back, I learned a lot about myself. It’s ok to be homesick; living abroad can be amazing but really hard at the same time; and most importantly, it’s ok to share these things with my family and friends. I know that not everyone will enjoy reading this blog and maybe even think I sound ungrateful, but I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I only shared the good times.

With that said, I have many things to be thankful for this year: Even though we are without our family and Boston family, we have many people to give thanks with; I am thankful for my loving wife and the determination she has to achieve her goals; I am thankful for my family far away and pray that this time next year we will be celebrating the holidays together; I am thankful for our friends near and far that always seem to know the best moment to send a message to say hello; Lastly I am thankful for Skype and the ability to talk to my parents, family, and friends at any given moment. Without this, I’m not sure I would make it through this year.

This was a difficult post to write and I thank you for taking the time to read it.  I hope that if you celebrated Thanksgiving that you and your family were able to give thanks for all of your blessings this year.

Happy Holidays!!


2 Comments

  1. LL says:

    lovely blog post, margaret! sending you love and huggsss! have a great holiday season! love your mom

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