Thanksgiving Day as an Expat

Happy Turkey Day!

Since I don’t have a photo of a turkey…


Living in Europe, with all its wonderful perks, has one huge drawback – dissociation from your home country. As I sit here in my hotel’s dining room for breakfast, Stevie Wonder singing softly out of the overhead speakers, I can’t help but realize how strange all this feels on this particular day. Today is Thanksgiving Day and I am in Seville, Spain. It is 9 am in my part of the world, but the US hasn’t woken up yet. And when they do, it will be all hands on deck. Turkeys to prepare for the oven, stuffing to make, pies ready to bake, tables set – and don’t forget to pull out that extra card table from the garage for the kids.

Yet where I am, everyone is completely oblivious to all of this. And it makes me feel a bit detached. Thanksgiving is the one holiday that is all American and unique. A good part of the world celebrates Christmas – and I would argue that the Christmas markets in Europe beat US shopping malls hands down – so I don’t feel like I’m missing as much there.  But Turkey Day is a different story. This is the day I would be with family in Louisiana – parents, sister, Grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins – gobbling up turkey, oyster dressing, sweet potato, green beans, and numerous desserts – all in the name of thankfulness. No presents exchanged, the togetherness is the present. And that is plenty.

It’s okay, I’m not complaining. I have no reason to! Living in Europe has afforded me the opportunity to travel to countries I never thought I would see. I’m so very thankful of this life I have and know there will be plenty of Thanksgivings with family in my future.

So to all my American and non-American readers – use this day to be thankful of where you are, what you have, and who you have to spend it with.

And to all my friends and family back home – I love you all and miss you. Enjoy this day and eat some turkey for me!

Please like & share, thanks!

11 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Day as an Expat

  1. Janice Edgin

    Dear Alisa, Reading your Thanksgiving message made me tear up a little, too; and I’ve never met you, even though I feel like your blog friend. I’ve never been away from my family for Thanksgiving, so I can’t imagine not eating turkey with them. Although I don’t feel too bad since you’re in Seville, Spain today. I enjoy all your travel blogs, so keep up the good work. Happy No-Turkey Day! Janice Edgin, Suzanne Richardson’s aunt.

  2. Jason

    Alisa, wonderfully written piece, cousin! And I love the reference to the card table for the kids! Boy does that bring back memories of Thanksgivings long past! Happy Thanksgiving to you from out West!

  3. Mom

    You made me cry. Especially since your daddy and I are celebrating Thanksgiving alone this year too. It’s not the same. But we have great memories of Thanksgivings past and know that future holidays will have us all together again. we miss you. Now don’t you cry too!

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