Last year we celebrated Thanksgiving just the 4 of us. Josh was still recovering from his knee surgery and we really didn’t have any friends. It was the first time we’d ever celebrated “alone”. And it sucked. I hated it. We were alone in yet another country. The anger took over me for a long time – especially over the holiday season.
That first Thanksgiving here was symbolic of our first year here as well. It was difficult, there is no doubting that. It was frustrating. It made me cry over and over again, sometimes daily. And it made me want to give up and go back home.
And while our first year here wasn’t as difficult as the Pilgrims had it almost 400 years ago, I can’t help but embrace the reason they were celebrating – because they made it through that first year. They survived. That’s where we are now. We made it. We are definitely a little worse for the wear. But we’ve also learned that we are made of tough stuff – tougher than we ever thought possible. We pushed ourselves past our limits in ways that we didn’t know we could. And we survived.
And for all of it, I’m thankful. I could go on and on about all the wonderful things I’m thankful about – my children, my husband, a roof over our heads, food on our table, our health. But it goes beyond that.
I’m thankful for our ability to persevere. That when the going gets tough, we rise to the occasion. We are strong. We are resilient. And together, we are a family – a family that has grown closer as a result of the challenges of these past years.
I am thankful for everyone who has supported us on this journey – who tell us to keep our chins up when all we want to do is curl up under the covers and make it all go away. For those who have never made us feel guilty for choosing to live 4000 miles away even though they’d like us to be more like 4 miles away. And we miss each and every one of you – very much.
I’m also thankful for what this crazy life has given us as an opportunity. To say that our children are global citizens would be putting it mildly. For them (and for us) to have had a chance to see more of the world in just a few short years than many see in a lifetime is a gift we will not soon forget.
I could go on and on about all the wonderful things I’m thankful for – there are so many, especially this year. We’ve come a long way in a year. We thought this transition to the Netherlands would be easy after having lived abroad in Spain for 5 years. We never expected it to be this hard.
But like they say, time heals all wounds. And here we are a year later, finally feeling settled into this new life. As I write this, I am starting prep for our Saturday Thanksgiving (since Josh and the kids had work and school today) where we will not be alone this year, but in fact, more than 20 of us – from all over the globe, will gather together celebrating this American tradition with us. What a difference a year makes.
Hugs and kisses,