Halfway Through The Year of Firsts

Thanksgiving 2013

Holidays are hard. I have received a lot of comments from people lately telling me how much they admire my attitude. While I am humbled at the fact that people read my words and take the time to say hello, I will be honest and tell you it is a lot of work. I still cry and I am still sad. I am only halfway through the year of firsts without my brother and I know I have plenty of tears and sadness ahead.

The holidays are obviously the most difficult. Today my mom and I were talking and of course it made me miss home. I want to be there for her but I am here and can only support her via phone, email and through pictures. It’s like I am grieving twice – for my brother and for my mother who lost another child.

With all that said, I am in a good place. I was telling my mom that I am truly content. I don’t stay in a place of happiness or sadness for too long because honestly it is exhausting. I work hard everyday to get back to the middle where I can see the little things around me as a blessing. This is where I am finding peace.

Thanksgiving this year looks a little different from past years. I LOVE cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I host it every year.  Obviously, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Thailand so Way had to work. In fact, he and Brennan have tutoring tonight so they won’t be home until 10:30 PM. In lieu of a real celebration, I arranged to make a thanksgiving day lunch. Keep in mind I have two pans, a stove top perfect for stir-frying not necessarily simmering and a microwave. And this is what I came up with:

Thanksgiving Dinner 2013

In case you can’t tell we had pan-fried chicken legs and breasts, buttered corn, lumpy mashed potatoes (no masher), stuffing (made with homemade chicken broth because I couldn’t read the cans to see if they carried some in the store) and gravy. For desert, I made no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies and bought a flan, a piece of mango tart and a Thai version of a Napoleon. I must say it was all quite good and hit the spot for a girl missing home.

Timing was everything in preparing the meal. Since I couldn’t bake the stuffing, I had to prepare it early enough so it could steam in one of the pans. I made the gravy early and stored it in one of my glass containers because I figured that would reheat the best in the microwave. All in all, I am pretty proud of the fact that I created a meal resembling our Thanksgiving favorites. Just missing the pumpkin pie and my mother-in-law’s cranberry sauce. No pumpkin or cranberries to be found. I will admit to not checking the local expat hangout that has all things imported because I wanted to create our meal with local goods.

Tomorrow we are continuing our celebration with a few fellow expats and a nice dinner out. I am truly lucky to have Way, my boys and friends to celebrate with. I am trying to live a life focused on gratitude, not just today or this month but everyday. I am choosing to focus on the things that I have and the experiences I encounter everyday.

This month on Facebook I have been posting the things that made me smile everyday. I will be continuing the trend in my journal. It is really shifting how I look at things throughout the day.

The things that made me smile today: talking to my mother and remembering a funny Doug story, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy, my boy getting a haircut and another book, eating together, the quiet following commotion, my pink yoga mat, thinking of you all snuggled in your beds as I write this and knowing how loved and supported I am. Life is Good!

From my family to yours, may your Thanksgiving find you surrounded by laughter. Remember to look around and find the little things that make you smile. In my opinion, that is where the magic lies.

Until Friday, XOXOXO


  1. says

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. This is such a warm and wonderful post. Having lived abroad for nearly eight years on several occasions and additionally on temporary assignments away from home I understand what it’s like to celebrate or not celebrate away from home, family and loved ones. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and has even more sentimental value as it was the last holiday I spent with my Mom eight years ago. We’re soon off to share our holiday with friends as our family is on the other coast. 😉 Thankful!

    • says

      Thank you, Patricia. It was a great day but of course a little bittersweet too. It probably feels the same for you. Thank you for sharing about your mom and what a perfect last holiday. Thanksgiving is also my favorite.

      Talking to you and all my friends makes me feel as if I am home. I am blessed beyond words. Have a wonderful day!

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