This year, I’m having a really hard time comprehending that it’s nearly Thanksgiving and the holiday season. I think the reason for this is threefold. First off, we didn’t really get a fall here in Tbilisi. I mean that weather-wise and physical location-wise. It felt like the temperature went straight from 70-80 degrees, straight down to 40 without any sort of gradual transition. And then with all the traveling we did early in the season, I had a very disjointed and disrupted September and October and never really got into any sort of routine.
Secondly, this is the first Thanksgiving in several years where I’m not making a full meal myself. Since 2013, we’ve either enjoyed a quiet meal at home with just us and the animals, or hosted family and friends. This year, we will be at a friends’ house so I didn’t have to do the usual three-week scramble of coming up with recipes, buying ingredients, and general prepping. Without all that, it just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving to me at all.
And then the third and probably most obvious reason it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving is the holidays always feel a bit weird when we are overseas. It’s much easier to get into the Christmas and New Year’s spirit in Georgia than it was in Tajikistan, but it’s still not home and still not quite normal. If we were home we would likely be gearing up to fly back to the fridged but wonderful Badger State for some family and friend time. We would probably be venturing to the mall one too many times for some Black Friday steals. We would have reserved a turkey from the Amish Market and braved the crowds to pick it up the Wednesday before. And so many more typical holiday things.
Of course, we do as much as we can to feel normal. This past weekend we put up our Christmas tree and the rest of our winter decorations. Seven strands of twinkle lights are currently casting a soft glow around me as I write this, and our home smells of warm cinnamon and clove from the Bath and Body Works candle burning in the living room. Because, yes, I insist on ordering Bath and Body Works candles and running the risk of them breaking in transit (as they often do because THEIR PACKAGING JOB IS ALWAYS GARBAGE) just so I can experience fall and winter like any other American millennial. I have already and will continue to bake dozens of Christmas cookies, which may be bad for our waistlines but good for our souls.
Although this particular Thanksgiving and holiday season may be an odd one for us, I’m sure it will still be fun and memorable. Eating copious amounts of cookies, drinking wine, and watching Christmas movies is always a good time, right?