Ramen. That’s what I had one Thanksgiving after I first moved from New York to Europe. It was so depressing I vowed to never do it again. From then on, a new, better tradition took over: celebrating the holiday no matter where I was in the world. In Costa Rica we feasted on tuna, in Mexico we had tostados to start, and here in Switzerland, it’s the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Sure, the turkey barely fits in my oven. And yes, cranberries and sweet potatoes aren’t the easiest to hunt down, not to mention brown sugar. But at the end of the night, when I’m at home with a dozen friends – Americans and otherwise – celebrating all that we’re grateful for, I could not be happier to be enjoying the holiday and giving thanks, together.
In this vein, I reached out to some other American expats abroad to see what they were doing in their part of the world. Below, a snapshot:
Living in: Freetown, Sierra Leone (that’s in West Africa, by the way)
Occupation: Freelance journalist and Managing Editor, The Urban Grocer
Thanksgiving plans: Working like usual… but then eating a big dinner at the home of some friends who work at the US embassy here in Sierra Leone.
Thanksgiving menu: Not sure yet! I’ll be making a pumpkin pie, though – or maybe cassava pie. We’ll see what I can find at the market…
Living in: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Occupation: Health coordinator for European Disaster Volunteers (EDV)
Thanksgiving plans: Myself and about 50 others will be getting together to have a delicious dinner that we will make at the house. Guests will include nearby organizations in the neighborhood we have worked with, local EDV beneficiaries, and our family of volunteers. We will be discussing that which we are grateful for and reflect back on the past year of disaster recovery work here in Haiti.
Thanksgiving menu: We will be getting a fresh pig which will be cooked over the fire. There will be beans, rice, plantain, and of course lots of wine!
Living in: Toronto, Canada
Occupation: Artist, artist assistant, creative copywriter, ghost blogger, and social media director
Thanksgiving plans: Preparing a big dinner to celebrate the 2nd Thanksgiving of the year!
Thanksgiving menu: The usual: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (with onion and chive cream cheese) , gravy, green beans, maple syrup and brown sugar glazed carrots, corn, and a ridiculous amount of pies inspired by my grandmother’s recipes.
Living in: Geneva, Switzerland
Occupation: Co-Founder, The Urban Grocer
Thanksgiving plans: Dinner with friends from the US, Uganda, Italy, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
Thanksgiving menu: The traditional menu with loads of wine and cranberry infused champagne – oh and a proper Swiss cheese board to start, of course!
What are you doing to celebrate the holiday in your part of the world?