our thanksgiving ritual

Thanksgiving is arguably my biggest holiday. I love it fiercely.

Since I moved to Asia after my college graduation I have managed to celebrate it each year-even in those first few years where I didn't really even try (hello free happy hour thanksgiving feast at a hotel bar in Yangoon!). But about 8 years ago or so some of my best friends here in Laos came together to make Thanksgiving. We were all single, young and marginally employed. I think some of the impetus was realizing that in our motley united nations of a social set, there were actually a enough of us Americans to want to do it. We invited all our friends, cooked all day, it was grand, and a tradition was born. Especially meaningful is that one of the guests that first year mentioned that he thought it was tradition to go around the table and say what you're thankful for (it wasn't in my family) but we all agreed it sounded good--and we have done it every year since.

Now a lot of that first group has moved on and/or married and/or had kids and it makes for a different celebration but the deep love and joy I feel getting together with everyone who is still here and can come is just fantastic. My father has been here maybe half the time or so and was scheduled to attend this year but his back was acting up so he was missed. One dear girlfriend left Laos for Afghanistan three years ago and yet she has still made it to the last two (3?) Thanksgivings (and that takes commitment to Turkey, let me tell you!). 

The only bummer is I'm so busy on the day I never take pictures. Luckily, I can rely on my girlfriend Emma for that. Maybe she'll share a few more too...

oh, and the food was was mighty fine too...

Nava on Thanksgiving:
Give me turkey. Give me sweet potato. More. More. More. Why is Goong eating a sweet potato without me? If I kiss her she'll give it to me surely... Why is mommy making me eat vegetables when I can see she is cutting turkey? Where did all these kids come from and why are they using my swing? Ok, they can have that swing and I'll use this one. Look mommy, if you're too busy talking to give me more pie,  I can crawl on the table and get some pie myself mommy, watch!


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