“You don’t celebrate Thanksgiving?”

I got that holiday feeling. By which I mean, most of the people I know in town have gone home to their families for Thanksgiving, America’s bloodiest holiday, on which millions of turkeys sacrifice for the cause, and everyone cooks, like crazy.

Fellow writer Daphne Carpel spotted this at the airport. She has an eye for the poignent in life. I almost cried when I read it... talk about the loss of innocence.

Here in So-Cal, there’s a weird vibe in the air. Queues at stores. Rain in California. So I decided to spend most of this time at home, in my new pink fluffy dressing gown, writing while consuming gallons of specially re-labled “festive blend” coffee. I would have thrown a hot water bottle into the mix, but here they are sold in medical stores only, and used to give enemas. They come with attachments. And although I’ve gone native and now get cold when the themometre drops below 60 farenheit, I just couldn’t face owning anything used to wash out the inside of your arse.

If course, there’s no avoiding the world: Every now and then I need to put my clothes on and leave, even if only to get pizza or milk, or a quick enima. This means talking to the extra-happy US clerks, who inevitably ask me, once they hear my accent: “So, you cooking up a storm for Thanksgiving?” I glance in confusion at my collection of items: Milk, toilet paper, chardonnay, an instant dinner and an overly optimistic bag of salad that will leave my fridge in compost form in a week.

Actually, cough… I am celebrating Thanksgiving. A bunch of us students who can’t go home for the holidays are meeting up and each bringing a dish and it’s going to be really cool. But I like to complicate my life, so I often explain no, “I’m South African”. The people I actually know in the USA – my new friends I guess – are mostly quite well educated. But the woman at Trader Jo’s looked at me like I’d just announced I had a bomb strapped to me. “You don’t have Thanksgiving there?” She said, agast. I shook my head. “Why not?” She replied. After thinking over the possibility of explaining why we also didn’t celebrate the 4th of July, I smiled sadly and replied: “No Turkeys”.

Not that keen to touch Activist Lori Lamb's junk. But it's some poor person's job to do so. Pat Downs are the new controversy here. Seems they're becoming more invasive. I'm almost tempted to fly. Image swiped from news24.com.

Actually thanksgiving, for all its dubious historial inaccuracy is a kinda cool holiday. It’s a perfect break before the craziness of finals. It involves food and well, being thankful. I got into the spirit of it and felt like I belonged for maybe the first time when I donated a couple of cans and some instant mac ‘n cheese to a shelter. For liberal-ass me, that’s probably the moment when I know I’ve settled in a bit: the one when I do something for the community that, in it’s friendly, weird American way, has welcomed me in the end.

To those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy. And to those of you who don’t, consider it! I can’t imagine anything better than a celebration with no baggage – no memories of missing family, no complications, just good food, and the people you choose to have with you. Your gay family, if you know what I mean. I think when I go home I might keep the tradition, just for fun. A friend and former colleague blogged about her thanksgiving excuse for cooking cool food here.

And this year I’m celebrating some great things like
The storm of creative collaboration born of slight desperation over our latests project, the first one that forces students to film a narrative – the 789.
The fact that I’m starting to make friends, and the warm and welcoming-ness of Americans so far. Thanks, USA.
The friends back in South Africa who kept me sane online, who held my hand and who I miss like crazy. Who gave me the faith it took to come here.
My mother, who sent me photographs and a card with jasmine flowers and fynbos from home pressed in it. Jasmine for my birthday. Arrived a few months late but I could still smell the flowers in her garden.
My father, who is flying my mother here to visit me.
The first crush I’ve had in ages. It’s not a good feeling exactly. But it’s better than nothing.
The future, which may not be the reason I’m wearing shades. The past that pushed me here. The hope that I’ll overcome the past.

Overshare – why not. People have died for less.

Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Responses to ““You don’t celebrate Thanksgiving?””

  1. Sam Says:

    Thanks for the link Jean! Hope your first Thanksgiving is everything you hope it to be and more. When you come back to SA we’re coming to your place for Turducken. 😉

  2. Shannon Says:

    Can’t you buy the hot water bottle without the attachment? I feel certain we had one when I was younger that my mom used for cramps…no…I’m thinking of a heating pad. Maybe the water bottles *are* only used for enemas now since everyone has central heat so they’re sort of obsolete as a heating device? Now I’ll ponder that.

  3. jeanbarker Says:

    I may not have looked hard enough – was at CVS and one other store. Both came with enema kits!

  4. Queen Says:

    i am loving your blog Jean, many successes and happiness to you, love t

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: