over a week late on posting a Thanksgiving blog. Not that I have to do one, but it happens to be one of my favorite holidays (and not just because it revolves around food.)
We celebrated on a Friday this year because of some schedule conflicts with guests. Though Thanksgiving is usually a family-oriented holiday, I really enjoy that ours tend to involve meeting strangers every year. It seems to be an expat American thing – we’re magnetized towards each other during our extremely American holiday. (Yes, I know the Canadians have it too, but they do it in the wrong month. Also, as my brother puts it, what exactly are they celebrating? Did they too betray their native guides?)
It’s a refreshing holiday, celebrating thankfulness without exchanging gifts. And, as I read recently, being thankful makes you a healthier person. Win win. (I suppose gorging on apple and pumpkin pies for three days straight might negate some of this thanksy health.)
We went around the table saying what we were grateful for, and it was surprisingly touching. We had four marines with us, and I’ve always stereotyped marines as macho/tough strapping young men. Which they are. But they were also sweet – each of them said they were thankful for their families (two had 2-year-old daughters in the States.)
I find the current situation in Egypt to be fascinating. After 30 years of sham democracy (rigged voting that produced the same result every time: President (or dictator) Mubarak), Egyptians are finally getting a voice in their government. Here’s an article on the recent voting.
You know expectations are different in Egypt than in the U.S. when an article titled “In a surprise, calm prevails in Egypt’s elections” has the following quote:
“There were also reports of scattered clashes, including a dispute in Asyut in the south that led the family of a candidate to burn down a polling place and kidnap a judge.”
Kidnapping judges, burning polling places…I’m not sure that’s an endearing campaign strategy.
My older brother has returned from two years in Morocco (where I visited for a month) as a Peace Corps volunteer. He has returned with buddies. Specifically, parasites. I googled “parasite” to get a good image to accompany this post. I was traumatized by the results, so instead I picked a picture of ants instead. He has been wolfing down mounds of food over the past two weeks, and justifies this by saying he is “eating for an army.” There’s no good comeback for that one, and truthfully he’s as skinny as an Olsen twin, so we let him eat.
While he returned with buddies, he also returned without something: his ukelele which I traveled with on buses for two weeks in Morocco to deliver to him. Apparently his host father had decided that he wanted something to remember him by, and oh, his ukelele would do the trick.
His arrival has inspired wonderful conversations, like the following:
Dad: It’s so nice to have our two oldest under our roof. Imagine, we could have stopped having kids after them.
Me: Mom would have been a tiger mom if she’d only had the two of us.
Mom: (a little perturbed) Aren’t those the women who chase younger men?
Me: No, that’s a cougar…
This slideshow is funny, and thought-provoking: images of donations (t-shirts, yoga mats) being used in third world countries. I don’t know all the arguments on either side, but I did enjoy the photos. My favorite is of the men wearing Superbowl t-shirts celebrating the victory of the losing team. Apparently every year there are warehouses filled with losing superbowl team t-shirts. They all get donated.
I teach a 4-year-old in one of my classes name Leonard Cohen. It feels strangely forward to call him Leo.