American Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving dinner was prepared by my mom and her friend when DP and I lived in Mexico.

It is American Thanksgiving and, for the first time in six years, I am at school today. This is, I must confess, a bit weird and not entirely lovely.

On the upside, our school serves a hot lunch every day and on today’s menu was… yup!… Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. We were treated to an amazing meal of turkey, dressing, gravy and pureed potatoes and (wait for it) chocolate and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Although our cafeteria lunch did not transcend to the level of my mom’s turkey dinner (pictured here), it was pretty freakin’ terrific.

Americans, I have observed, are incredibly committed to their Thanksgiving rituals. While American Thanksgiving is four days in length, allowing people to fly across the country to be with their family, I know few Canadians who could make such a trek over our own (paltry) three day weekend. One of my American colleagues started her day in tears today at the thought of missing out on her large family reunion (involving 30 first cousins and the invasion of a small town in the Midwest). When I asked her what they do all weekend she said (and in no particular order): drink cocktails, eat, wash and dry dishes, sleep, play volleyball and basketball with the whole family, watch football on television, play cards, pose for a family portrait, eat again, nap again and gossip. This is an EPIC holiday in the U.S.A. and it sounds lovely to me today.

Canadians, I believe, celebrate Thanksgiving “light”; we have no Mayflower mythology, make relatively few cross-country flights and wrap the whole thing up in just 72 hours.

Nonetheless, even on my Canadian program of Thanksgiving light, there are many things for which to be grateful:
– Being employed.
– Slam poetry which got my grade 8 students (finally) expressing their opinions… and sharing them loudly and with enormous passion. I am particularly thankful for the poems and voice of Taylor Mali who is a poetry-hero in my classroom.
– Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica Catalana (look for a future blog) where we saw Madeleine Peyroux play on Tuedsay night. The theatre is a world heritage site and one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen in my entire life. If the interior of a building can be luminous, this one is.
– Fresh fruit and vegetables… eating a tomato that is warm and squishy and tastes like it came from the earth and was picked from the vine this morning.
– Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Standing inside a cathedral while it is being built all around you is a unique and humbling experience. I hope to still be alive when it is finished around the year 2040. We have read that the first mass at Sagrada Familia will be celebrated in March, 2007… if that is true, I will be there with bells on.
– Version Original (original version) theatres in BCN where we can watch movies in English.
– Having access to the school library. (What my mom says is true… you do not have to OWN every book you READ).
– Safter’s “Quentin Tarantino” poem.
– Excellent milk chocolate which people here buy in family sized bars and eat in small squares. This reminds me of my maternal grandmother.
– E-mail and blogging and cheap phone calls from Europe to Canada. We buy something called a “Euro Card” which gives us 600 minutes of talking time for 6 Euros. Now that’s what I call a bargain.
– Postcards and cards from far-flung friends.
– Our Christmas vacation begins in less than 4 weeks.
– My mom and dad are healthy.
– Barcelona has great silver jewelry too!
– PG (one of my students) who always takes time to say good-bye to me at the end of every class. I am going to write a poem about him… it will begin: PG who always says “Good-bye, Miss.”
– DP who is good and kind and patient.

What are you thankful for today?

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