I love living abroad. For the first time in a long time, I know where I belong. It’s abroad, doing what I’m doing, teaching kids, and being apart of a community here. My life on social media looks pretty fabulous, traveling around the world, experiencing many aspects of Japanese culture, and having the coolest opportunities. And, really, for the most part I love it. But I have to say, the week of American Thanksgiving is usually one of the hardest of the year.
I love American Thanksgiving. It comes a few short weeks before Christmas, it is a two day holiday from work that is so much needed, it’s filled with food, family, and friends. For me, this is one of the most important holidays of the year. We simply celebrate what we’re thankful for. Pilgrams, smilgrams, I don’t really care. This holiday for me is taking required time off and spending it with those who are important to you--it’s not just about who you’re related to, it’s about taking those in whose family is far away, sharing a meal, and feeling the food coma afterward.
While I’m in Japan, this day is obviously not celebrated as a national holiday. It’s just another day here, with the same day-in and out as any other day. Living the expat life, this day has become a day where I get to share such a special part of my culture with the culture I currently live in. We are reminded that it’s good to be thankful every day of the year, and not just one. That maybe Japan doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but that Thanksgiving is truly a concept that can cross all borders and seasons of the year.
Even though this post is coming a few days after Thanksgiving, happy Thanksgiving to all--no matter your culture. Take some time today to share what you’re thankful for, or simply give someone a hug. Thanksgiving is not just the fourth Thursday in November. It’s 365 days a year.