As a naturalized American, even though I grew up with lots of American kids going to American schools while living overseas, there are things about this culture I did not experience until after arriving for college in 1984. Having grown up around American kids, be it overseas, I got a really good immersion into everything and anything American. I was hooked; from Levi’s to, Pabst Blue Ribbon, to the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and let’s not forget about American girls. Taking all that into account I eventually became an American by choice.
Having grown up on 3 continents and traveled a chunck of the world at at early age opened my horizons. Part of that awakening in my late teens and after several trips to the US, I made up my mind that braving it alone in America and seeking my own American Dream was the way to go. If you’re willing to study, get a college degree, play hard, work hard and diligently taking advantage all that this country still has to offer, you just may make it. As part of that can-do American attitude that is inherent even in most immigrants that land on these shores, is the need to pause and appreciate what we have a be Thankful. Having grown up overseas, as mentioned the one truly American holiday I did not experience or remotely appreciate in full is Thanksgiving.
I met my wife in college, at Hofstra University. She’s a Jersey girl and obviously so are (and then some) our daughters. My wife and I had been together for almost a full year when I got dragged to my mother-in-laws for my first experience of “The American Thanksgiving”. My mother-in-law took over the tradition from her mother and with some variations in the yearly size of the crowd, she still hosts that Thanksgiving big time, just like she will this Thursday. this year, by the sound of it the crowd will be smaller than usual, about 28 by last count, but we’ve had as many as 52. Wow?! Yeah, right? Family comes from Massachusetts, upstate NY, Georgia, Indiana, all over. Enough food and grog to satisfy and entire village. Yet despite the bacchanal, one of the best parts of the day is seeing family and good friends that perhaps we would love to see more often, as life and distance gets in the way. No matter who we are, as Americans on Thanksgiving Day we get together to acknowledge how thankful we are for what we have and celebrate that with family and friends.
I’m thankful for my beautiful and smart daughters, my lovely wife, my Mom and Dad, my wonderful in-laws, family, friends, I’m thankful that I own my own business doing what I love to do, still moving forward, thankful that I get to pop wine corks almost every day, thankful for the roof over my head, that I get to fly-fish and spend time with friends once in a whwile, that I get to enjoy NYC and what the tri-state area has to offer and certainly thankful for all the opportunities America has offered and continues to offer me. I’ve learned to celebrate Thanksgiving for what it truly is, with family. Shopping is not a part of it…
Looking forward to a long and enjoyable weekend. Have fun, be safe.