I don’t really like winter, but there’s a magic and comfort to coming in from the cold and feeling the welcome of a warm home. Today, I’m far from that cold weather, but as my American friends prepare their Thanksgiving feasts, this might be one of the very few times when I actually miss the crisp chill of a colder day.

Warm fire

Not being an American, it’s never been a tradition of mine to celebrate Thanksgiving, but back in 2012 I got to spend that holiday with a friend in Seattle. Her family’s feast was nothing short of fantastic. A warm home full of people with conversation and laughter mingling in the air with the aroma of the forthcoming feast and the sound of (American) football coming from the TV.

Now, after seven years of celebrating ‘the holidays’ (as our American friends call them) in the southern hemisphere, the experience of coming in from the cold to a warm home and a waiting holiday roast has faded into the unfamiliar.

My first winter ‘down under’ felt bizarre because it lacked the reprieve of Christmas and New Year. Those holidays stand like lighthouses helping you navigate your way through dark and shortened days, but in the southern hemisphere the lighthouses are gone. Instead, winter is a long and featureless stretch of time like a desert highway without a curve or junction. It’s a ribbon of strung together days and weeks upon which you wait to reach your destination.

Indeed, not long after celebrating Thanksgiving in Seattle, I was on a white sandy beach in Fiji, a hop on my way back to another Christmas smack in the middle of New Zealand’s summer.

I’ve grown accustom to the summer Christmas now and to putting on sunscreen rather than a scarf when I step out into the late December weather. I love celebrating the New Year in the warmth of a long summer night. I also like that my birthday has switched from midwinter to midsummer like a politician unexpectedly changing party allegiance.

Thanksgiving feast preparationBut today, as I sit in a bright lush green garden of a cafe in Thailand, just a couple of weeks or so from returning to Australia, a part of me wishes that I was somewhere cold in the USA. Like I mentioned before, I don’t like the cold. However, just for today, it would be good to be wrapped up in a scarf, kicking up fallen leaves or walking over snow to a welcoming warm house filled with friends, football on the TV, an open fire, and a great big turkey roasting in the kitchen.

With that image in mind, I found a local restaurant here that has a special Thanksgiving menu for tonight. The place will be packed with Americans I’m told. So while it’s not going to snow here, it will get a little cooler when the sun goes down, cool enough for us to fill our bellies with roast turkey served with stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables and pumpkin pie for dessert. I can’t wait!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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