While I could list in detail all the ways in which this year is different than last year, I won’t. Previous writings have already shown the differences, and it would be redundant to go through it all again. But instead, let’s just focus on a single point. Thanksgiving is coming up tomorrow, and I think I’m going to feel pretty homesick on this occasion. It’s not that Thanksgiving was ever a particularly important holiday in my family, but just the idea of doing something very American and being with family, or friends, is something to be desired.
For years we would pile into a car and drive down to Brooklyn, beating the traffic if we were lucky and arriving hours too early. We didn’t even have a traditional big turkey, because for some reason my grandma always wanted to cut it up the night before, causing it to dry out hours before it was ready. And in the last couple of years that I was home, my dad would take my brother and sister and a couple of cousins out to a bar and for shwarma in the Village later at night.
Last year was my first Thanksgiving away from home, but it really wasn’t all that bad. On Thanksgiving day I was actually climbing Chimborazo volcano with a friend, heading up with the last iceman of Chimborazo. I didn’t even realize it was Thanksgiving until later that day after we had come back down the mountain. I went back to Cuenca the next day, and that following Saturday my friend Lauren hosted a feast at her host sisters’ apartment, along with several Ecuadorians and a few gringos in the mix. It was also the night I met my good friend Jamie, which I can use as a bookmark later events throughout the year.
I was away from home but it didn’t really matter much because I formed a group of volunteers who were also away from home. So we at least had each other in that regard. And obviously I am now alone in Buenos Aires. I know a handful of expats here, but they are either English or vegetarians, and no one has even mentioned Thanksgiving. Even if someone had, I don’t know what we could do. It’s hard enough to find just sliced turkey breast at the supermarket, let alone a giant turkey fit for a holiday meal.
I don’t generally get homesick, and I try not to think about being at home so that I can enjoy myself in the moment. But I will definitely be missing being at home tomorrow afternoon. While I’m at work, dodging the humidity, everyone back home will be rubbing their bellies and picking their teeth while plopping down on the couch to watch a terrible football game (most likely involving the Lions). I don’t even have a couch, nor can I watch football games at home anymore.
So after work is over I’ll most likely come home and fry up a steak, to enjoy Thanksgiving in the Argentinian fashion. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s the best I can do with what I’ve got.
Above: Photo by Joits