I’ve always loved the American tradition of Thanksgiving. This is perhaps the one holiday left that hasn’t fallen prey to materialism (Black Friday, however, is a different story). We don’t spend the weeks leading up to it stressed about finding gifts or the perfect outfit to wear. Instead, we show up for dinner only with our favorite recipes and our stretchiest pants. For the most part, Thanksgiving has remained true to its intention as a family holiday: a time to spend with loved ones and to reflect back on the year and count our blessings.
It’s always hard spending the holidays in a different country, and Thanksgiving is probably the worst of all. Here, it’s just a normal Thursday as usual… and it feels strange, like something is missing. I find myself yearning for anything to acknowledge the holiday (this year, in the form of a huge plate of carbs and slice of tart). But nothing can replicate the feeling of Thanksgiving.
I’m nostalgic for the Thanksgivings past when my family happily gathered around the dinner table. It’s been a few years since we shared this meal, and now this year, due to some more recent family differences, my sister is not returning home for the holiday either. It makes me sad that despite everything my family has been through this year, we still can’t work out our differences and find ways to drive each other apart.
But even so, there’s still a lot to be thankful for this year. More than ever, in fact. So even though there is absolutely nothing to celebrate here and no one in my family is spending Thanksgiving together this year, I don’t want to just let it quietly pass by.
So this year, I wrote down everything I’m thankful for – some silly and some more serious – in hand lettered word collage.
I find the process of hand lettering to be tedious yet rewarding. Unlike typing, there is no undo button for mistakes. And thus, each stroke must be carefully placed, each letter intentionally crafted. Taking so long to do this made me pay more attention to what I’m writing. I lingered long on each word, really letting its sentiment sink in.
Even though our family still has a long way to go to becoming whole, above all, I’m just thankful that everyone is healthy. This summer’s scare with my sister made me realize just how fragile life can be. It also made me see how a family can get through everything and how together, we are strong. So I’m sure we will gather around a Thanksgiving table again someday, but for today… just being healthy is enough reason to celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! And to everyone, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a reader.
How are you celebrating this year? What are you most thankful for? If you’re from a different country, do you have a similar holiday?