For the first time ever, we are away from all our loved ones for Thanksgiving. We've put ourselves outside of the country and are living where Thanksgiving doesn't exist—the horror! While I am directing my energy into positive directions—like working to build new traditions this time of year—I still can't help but feel sad about what we will be missing out on during these next few years while we continue to live abroad in London. I wont be helping my Mom make the stuffing passed down from my Grandmother—pulling apart the bread for her with my sister competing to see who will finish their loaf first. We wont watch my Dad mash the potatoes and squash like a mad man. We wont be hoping on the train to East Boston for soup at Rico's Noni or overeating ourselves with the massive amounts of food flowing out from her kitchen through the hands of everyone around the tables.
It feels odd. We are so far removed from it all this year that we keep forgetting that everyone is preparing and planning for the big day, just about ready to dive into a delicious feast full of so much love.
Living in London feels like a whole different world. When we went back home a few months ago, I felt as if I were living a double life. Being back in New England, it was as if London wasn't real and when we are here in London, its like our old New England home doesn't exist. We miss so much when we are here in London and the most painful thing to miss is people. I could continue dwell on but I know that being away will only strengthen my relationships when we return. We now know what it feels like to be so far away from everyone (absence makes the heart grow founder, right!?) and we know that that's not something we want to feel forever. So this year as we reflect back, we're focusing on what we are thankful for on such a deeper level than we ever had before, with a greater understanding of what's important in life, and for a clearer vision to what we want our future to embody.
Being so far away from everyone since February has only made us realize the amount of love we have for our family. Through the good and the bad, we are always there for each other and the distance does not change that. We are so thankful for their support and love during our adventure abroad, for understanding why we are here and loving us for that. No matter how far apart we are, we always there for one another even if it means late night Facetime sessions to make sure our times line up. Family has never meant so much to us as it does now and we are grateful that we both come from loving ones. They have helped make us the people we are today and what we look forward to the most in the future, is living right nearby so we never have to miss them again!
And by home we mean New England. Rico and I always have said that we will settle in New England but now I think we can say that with no doubt in our minds. We are thankful that our parents raised us in such a beautiful area and that one day we will all be back in New England once again. We dream of the lakes, mountains, and beaches. The small ocean towns with welcoming people. The sense of familiarity. New England has taught us to love the outdoors and be tough adventurers that we have come to be. When we return, we will be fully ready to start the next chapter in life and preparing for a positive loving future together. A sense of home sits deep in my heart and I can't help but long for the days that home is home again.
With lots of bouts, scares, and losses this past year, I think we can loudly say that we are grateful first for the health of our loved ones and second for our own health. Without our health—mental and physical—we can feel lost and stifled. We are thankful that we are all living, breathing, and happy, continuously working hard to be our best selves with the support and love from one another. We are thankful that everyone was healthy enough to enjoy a family trip to France back at the end of the summer. We are thankful that we have been able to travel so much without anything but a cold here and there. And we continue to pray that each of our healthy bodies stay strong and that we may all take as many adventures next year as possible—separate and together!
To our old friends back home and our new friends we have made here. They sure make life a wild ride and we are so grateful to have each and everyone of them in our lives. We treat our friends like family and without their support, encouragement, and love, we wouldn't be the people we are today. We couldn't be prouder of the group we have chosen to surround ourselves with—each of them chasing their dreams and making wonderful things happen in life. They say surround yourself with people that push you to be the best you can be and I can without doubt say we are doing just that! Sending so much love to you all right now!
I've saved this one for last for a reason. London and I have a love hate relationship but when I reflect back there is a strong sense of love beating out of my heart for this city. Without it we wouldn't be who we are today. While we have had our fair share of ups, it has such a special place in my heart and it has taught us so much. We have only strengthened as individuals and as a couple being here as we worked through this big life change. There are things you just can't learn and wont know until you experience living in a city let alone such a large and multicultural city. I feel brave and empowered from living here and I know I will miss this city when we do chose to leave. It has given us a life of adventure and the most amazing travel base to see the world from. London, you've guided us in the most beautiful direction in life and I am forever thankful for that.
Tonight we will be making mashed potatoes and stuffing to celebrate Thanksgiving with one another and my sister will be Facetiming us in so we can watch the parade together (and maybe the dog show too, okay!). This is our new sense of home. For now. And it is beautiful in its own way. This weekend we look forward to heading to a fellow expat friend's flat to have a true Thanksgiving—friendsgiving style. So here's to new traditions and memories that are sure to last! I guess it's not a Thanksgiving without Thanksgiving after all :)
What are you most thankful for?
What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?
Share with us! We would love hear why and how you are celebrating this year!