Thanksgiving is sneaking in on me this year. It seems like it was just Halloween! Thanksgiving is always that weird holiday that is a big deal, but no one’s quite sure why. Sure, we’re all thankful that the Pilgrims survived to be fruitful and multiply, but half of us came in on a later boat anyway. And we also know that the pilgrims and Native Americans didn’t have the best of relations, no matter what our 5th grade school play tells us.
So it’s become this strange family celebration that centers around food, and the awkward tradition of announcing what you’re thankful for. But since it’s always fun to eat, and it’s good to be thankful for things, I won’t argue. Instead, I’ll remember a few Thanksgivings that stick out to me.

1) I’m about 12 or so, and it was just my parents and I for Thanksgiving that year. We’d decided to do something different, so we had gone to the library to get cookbooks from another country, and make a cultural feast. That year it was Mexico–the next it was France. The tradition only lasted 2-3 years, but I remember always being so very excited with what we could come up with.

2) I’m in college, and everyone is home for the holidays. Thanksgiving is generally a day to sleep in and veg until it’s time to eat, but for some reason my parents decide it’s a great idea to do our town’s Turkey Trot–a 5k race way too early on Thanksgiving. Since they threatened no food unless we did it, I bundled myself up and flailed my way to the finish line. You know that terrible feeling of being out of shape plus being in cold weather? The feeling of your lungs giving out on you? That year, I was thankful I survived.

3) 2007. I’m in Prague, Czech Republic, teaching English. This memory has two parts, really. Part 1 includes the actual day of Thanksgiving, where my roommate and I got locked out of our apartment and had to borrow metro money and coats from the old Czech lady next door to find someone to unlock it.  You know what we were thankful for…. 
Part II is where we celebrated our very own American Thanksgiving with a lot of English teachers stuck in a country that doesn’t do Thanksgiving. We pulled out a potluck feast complete with turkey, casseroles, veggies, and my new tradition of making kolaches!

4) 2008: my first Thanksgiving with Jesse and his family. I was introduced to all sorts of new “traditional” food like apricot balls, chick-lets, tried a couple new recipes of my own, and continued my kolache-making tradition. Plus, Jesse and I struck gold with the leftovers and went home with our next 25 meals. Score!
So, those are just a few that stand out in my mind. It’s funny, I don’t really remember strong, solid, Thanksgiving traditions. We seemed to change it up every year depending on who was there, who was vegetarian, and where we were. My Thanksgiving requirements are being around good people, with good food, and maybe getting to see some of the Macy’s parade. Then, putting up decorations and turning on holiday music, because it’s Christmastime!!