Last year, when I was still fairly new to the city and we knew winter was coming and promised to be long and while the pups were elsewhere, Ana and I sublet our apartment for all of November and rented a place on the sea on the southern coast of Spain in a little town called Herradura. The sun set later and the morning sun rose brighter. We walked along the sea and ate soooo many tapas. On Thanksgiving day, after giving up the hope that I might have anything close to home, we went to a later dinner and had amazing tapas and gave thanks for the things we are truly grateful for. It was a perfect way to embrace Thanksgiving in Spain.
This year, we are in Berlin for this very US holiday. When I walk the dogs in the morning I see the low winter sun starting to try to rise through the clouds and the darkness. It is darker here with few hours of sun during the day. It feels cozy. We are embracing the darkness that comes. It also makes all of the Christmas lights and markets that are going up all that more important.
This year, I am getting an appetizer ready to take with us to some US friends house for a more traditional Thanksgiving. I am still deeply missing my family and miss watching “White Christmas” with my nieces and nephews, introducing them to a long tradition in my family. This is the way we kick off Advent and setting up for Christmas to come. I will sneak in the movie here and there today, satisfying a need in my soul at some point today or tomorrow. I am eager to eat turkey and pumpkin pie because that feels a little closer to what I know while I am still in a foreign country although every day feels more and more like I inhabit space here.
So in the true tradition of what I have made Thanksgiving to be despite its horrible and brutal history, I give thanks. This is the only piece that is consistent from year to year…I give great thanks to my Creator and to my community for what this year has brought me and what I hold dear and true. I give thanks for all that I have. May my cup of gratitude overflow this year as I give great thanks for an amazing supportive and lovely partner who is truly a partner to me in this life, for pups, for food and shelter and clothing, for guitar playing and ceramics that give my soul creative energy, for school life that is unexpected and full, for new travels and continuing to struggle with a language I have picked up in midlife, for continued surprises and great love of adventure, for God pushing and pulling and appearing every once and again, for building circles of friendships in new places and surprising connections.
I give thanks.