2015: A Year of Wander

2016 has arrived and everyone’s looking ahead  to new beginnings, fresh starts, and wish lists for the upcoming year. I am too - but I’m a little behind, and I can’t fully move on until I take a long pause and reflect on all that 2015 was before I catch up with the rest of you.

Some years slide by us, and as the calendar flips to January, it just marks the passage of time. Then there are some years that are so life-changing and momentous and exhausting yet exhilarating all the same that as that last digit changes, you try to peer out of the wild haze you are surrounded in, wondering aloud, “Did that just happen?” That was this January 1st for me. And because of that, more than anything I need to recap it all for myself so one day in the future I remember what was built in the tumultuous year of wander that was 2015.

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A New Perspective on Thanksgiving

“Do you like Thanksgiving?” a co-worker asked recently, after admitting that she wasn’t too fond of the holiday.

I was taken aback at first. I didn’t think that Thanksgiving needed to be defended. What’s not to like about an excuse to gather together and eat wonderful seasonal one-offs like sweet potato casserole and pecan pie, and, being a conversation set in America - get one (and often two) whole days off?? 

But as I headed home, I reflected and realized that while I’ve always enjoyed Thanksgiving as an opportunity to spend time with my family, I never loved it until I moved to France.

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How to Plan an Expat Thanksgiving in 9 Steps

Signing your first apartment lease. Starting your first job. Moving out. Paying bills. There are many moments both big and small that seal a badge of becoming a “real adult.”

Moving to Paris has given me the opportunity to reach another “adulthood” milestone: hosting a holiday. Now for the third year, I can say that Thanksgiving is my holiday. Each year I get the honor of gathering my Parisian family in my home to celebrate this wonderful American holiday. Want to know how I do it?

Here’s how to plan an expat Thanksgiving:

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Thanksgiving in Paris

Here are my thoughts on about navigating Thanksgiving in Paris...

Autumn in a foreign country has played with my emotions a bit. I didn't realize all that I appreciated about this season until I realized some of my fall staples had disappeared.  Things I miss in descending order are pumpkin sweets (pie, coffee creamer, cheesecake...I can keep going for a while), candy corn, and American football. Some of you know me and the last one made you raise your eyebrow and say, "really?" To those, I would answer that it is still a part of autumn for me after sitting through almost every high school football game for marching band.

The culmination of the wonderfulness of autumn can be found in Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving to me has always been a long weekend full of family, friends, and massive amounts of delicious food.  I found last year that it is quite different to wake up on Thanksgiving in France as just another day, business as usual. Yet I know all my friends and family are waking up to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and then documenting grand tables heaping with homemade food on Facebook. 

Now that I have grown more accustomed to life in France and have a great network of friends here, I don't get overly homesick often.  Thanksgiving still proves to be difficult though.  Thankfully I have discovered some bonnes adresses so here's my go-to places for Thanksgiving food needs: 

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