Okay, so Katcha isn't as fat as the infamous (or only famous in the Everest house) Perky, but I wasn't around to give her any turkey today, so she didn't have much chance to be thankful.
It's late here as lunch time is just about to roll around for those on the West Coast and the houses of my family members are no doubt brimming with good smells. I've had quite a large number of very non-traditional Thanksgivings over the past ten years as I've lived mostly out of the United States and in places that don't even consider turkey something you normally eat. Here in Czech that's probably largely because their ovens are about half the size of American ones and therefore cooking a 18 lb bird pretty much out of the question. No doubt the low point on my Thanksgiving list would be the year in HK I was supposed to go to a dazzling feast at Amy's house after my shift, but instead ended up having to take a baby to the hospital in what turned out to be a very long dose of overtime. Rather than supping on the illustrious bird I found myself scarfing down a bag of dry fried noodles, coupled with a bottle of exotic fanta of one variety or another. Not altogether un-tasty in the moment, but when I ended up regurgitating it a few hours later it was far from satisfactory shall we say. But enough of the horrifying asides.
This year I was truly blessed for Thanksgiving in a very random sort of way. A few months ago my friend Ann, formerly of Hong Kong and now living in Australia, let me know that she'd be passing through Prague for a few days in late November. At the time I told her she'd have to check back in to see if I'd be around seeing as how I was intending to be stateside by the middle of August. We sent a few message here and there confirming that I was, indeed, still in the area, and eventually, despite a rather desperate need to pack up my life, I decided to take the day out and catch up with her after about 7 years.
It was definitely well worth the trip. I was also able to see one of my wonderful students, Eva, who is now studying in Prague. We'd planned to meet sooner, but all the visa trips were rather stressful and intense so it just never happened. But today was different. Today was Thanksgiving. Today, I even sacrificed sleep for the greater good without complaint. Not that I was overly happy to greet the day at 5 AM, but it was worth it.
The blessings started early with a car ride to the train station from Mark's dad. Since we currently have a couple inches of snow this was a huge blessing. Otherwise I would no doubt have started the day with cold wet feet seeing as how I don't have any waterproof shoes here at the moment. Instead I was warm and dry and Mark and I were nice and early and able to enjoy chatting sweetly until it was time for me to depart. I took the time to enjoy my last train and bus ride to Prague for I don't know how long. The pink shades of sunrise over the snowy fields was a sight to behold. I just felt thankfulness running all through me.
As I said at the beginning it's late now, and I should head off to sleep, so I won't go into all the details, but I just wanted to share a bit about this special day. I have photos as well, so maybe tomorrow when I have more time I'll go into more, but for now I'll just leave you with lunch.
I arrived in Prague around ten and spent some time catching up on Ann's life and then we met up with Eva at noon for lunch. (Brief sad moment: I was almost finished with this post and suddenly my words disappeared back to here. I think that's a sure sigh that I should be sleeping now!) Anyhow, I took them to Bohemia Bagel, and there we had our own little version of a Thanksgiving feast. I opted for the Turkey club. Not quite your traditional Thanksgiving helping of turkey breast and mashed potatoes, but it was a tasty treat. Ann topped it all off by ordering a piece of pumpkin cheese cake for us to share. I know it's far from what most people would consider normal for this holiday, but having spent most Thanksgivings over the last ten years far from home, there was something about this day that was just so incredibly special to me. Great friends, a taste of home...it really was beautiful in its own way.
I'll try to write more about the rest of the day later, but I'll end by saying it was all topped out by Mark waiting for me with open arms at the train station after a long cold day of travel. Really doesn't get much better than that.
So wherever you may find yourself, and whether this is a holiday you celebrate or not, I hope you feel blessed today and are able to find things to be thankful for just as I was.
A very Happy Thanksgiving to you all!