I've given it a lot of thought, and I've decided that Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday.
Thanksgiving is almost a sneaky holiday. While we're all so busy getting everything settled away from the mayhem that is September and prepping for the sugar-coma that is Halloween, Thanksgiving crops up unsuspectingly on the second Monday of October. People always sort of forget that it's coming, and everyone mutters "Oh yeah, Thanksgiving! What date is that this year?" at least twice before the holiday rolls around.
Thanksgiving is not a holiday about presents or decorations or music. No one worries that they haven't bought enough candy or gambles on the last sunny weekend of the fall in order to get the outside lights up in time. We needn't have a moment of silence and wear red poppies pinned to our jackets - a symbolic gesture which no one knows quite the precise politically correct moment to start and stop.
The 25 Thanksgivings I've experienced in my lifetime have always been wonderful. Each year found new guests and familiar faces around my parents' dining room table to indulge in my mom's incredible turkey dinner. When I was younger, we always had a rotating cast of family members for Thanksgiving dinner - sometimes so many that the dining room table was crowded to over-capacity and Kayla and I had to sit in the kitchen. I remember one Thanksgiving when my cousin recorded everyone at the table expressing what they were thankful for; another year, my family hosted almost all of the 2007 Scotian Glen Camp Staff for a turkey feast. There were Thanksgivings that my family spent in Corner Brook, celebrating with cousins and aunts, and Thanksgivings where I spent the weekend worshipping with my friends at YC Newfoundland.
The two Thanksgivings I've been away from home were evenings of true generosity. In 2010, my dear friend Thea and her wonderful parents took me in and shared their home, their laughter, and their incredible cooking with me. Last year, I shared in two turkey dinners on the same day - a feat, even for me! My Ottawa family brought me to church and then fed me like only Newfoundlanders can, and then I helped cook a Thanksgiving feast with my roommates and dear friends, which resulted in a Turkey that wouldn't cook and eating pie for an appetizer.
For me, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is only associated with happy memories. I love the feeling of generosity and openness that this season encourages. To not only open your home, but to share a meal in honour of the blessings in your life is an incredibly intimate experience, and I am thankful that I have had so many people and places to share it with and in.
And so, on this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the faculty and staff in my Masters program who are so helpful and lovely and are helping me make it through alive.
For the incredible friends I have made in Ottawa who listen to me rant, who make me laugh, who encourage me and who let me encourage them, who bring me cake and coffee, who make me glad I live here every day.
For my long-suffering friends, with whom our life's ups and downs we have shared for years, and who continue to make me laugh, smile, and feel loved on a daily basis.
For my roommate, who cleans the apartment from top to bottom and doesn't judge me for accidentally eating a whole jar of Nutella.
For social media, because it helps me to pursue the career I want. And also interact with British comedians (like David Mitchell, who tweeted at me this year!!!!!).
For Bill Byrson and J.K. Rowling, whose books bring me great joy.
And for my mom, dad, sister, and bro-in-law, who have given me countless reasons to be thankful for 26 Thanksgivings.
Happy, happy Thanksgiving.
Currently reading: (re-reading) One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson
Current TV series: Was It Something I Said? series 1
Current nail colour: "Watermelon" & "Pearl Perfection" - Essie