The smell of freshly baked pumpkin pie is still filling the air, other menu items for tomorrow are ready to be eaten, and I am relaxing with some Christmas music. Idyllic? Maybe.
But here I sit, far away from my beloved husband and 2 of our 3 kids, and on the opposite side of the globe from those who typically celebrate Thanksgiving with us.
On the streets there is no turkey to be had, no Black Friday sales, no autumn wreaths gracing front doors, and no piles of stuffing bread cubes, canned gravy, or pie shells on the shelves (although you will find vendors selling sweet potatoes baked over coals in a metal barrel. )
Tomorrow will be business as usual for the vast majority of the population of Beijing and everywhere else around here.
It’s a time I really feel even more like a stranger in a strange land–when the familiar sights, smells and customs of the season are replaced with unintelligible signs, unidenfitiable foods, and heavy smog.
I don’t realize how much stock I put in little things, such as fall decorations, until they’re absent. Those things that remind all of us of the cyclical routines that often characterize our lives and lend a feeling of normalcy.
Fall is my favorite time of year, but it is clearly as much due to the warmth and rapidly approaching holiday preparations as it is due to the weather.
But even so, the absence of externals cannot take away the joy I can choose to have in my heart, and I can still remember the mountains of things for which to give thanks:
For my family, my friends, good health, and a sense of peace despite our ongoing transitions as we adapt to a new life.
For the fact that a human pregnancy only lasts around 40 weeks (and I’m now awfully close to that endpoint).
And also, for Jenny Lou’s.
That’s the store with imported food.