My first Thanksgiving was celebrated 15 years ago in New York with my mom’s cousin. I don’t recall the turkey, the food or anything really. I have a small recollection of the decoration of the apartment. But I remember one thing: we watched so many Indiana Jones movies that I eventually fell asleep in front of the TV.
In the following two years we celebrated Thanksgiving at home, once with some other Germans living in the area. Again, I don’t recall these moments at all. I remember learning everything about the tradition, where it comes from. It was not of my heritage being an expat child bound to return to by country of origin, but we adopted it quickly, I guess that’s what you call “integration”.
Eleven years ago my dad had the idea to invite his siblings with their spouses and small children to join us for the four days of Thanksgiving, give them a reason to come and enjoy Paris. We lived in the suburbs at the time, so it took a while to make our way into the heart of the city for adventures. Photos from the past show that I was a still a kid back then (I was 16), that my cousin who just turned 12 was just starting to stand up by himself, and that the turkey was about the size of a big chicken.
My parents moved into Paris for my second Thanksgiving no longer living at home. It was also the first Thanksgiving of my youngest cousin, who was about 5 days old. Thanksgiving by then had grown in importance for my aunt and her family, even a giving birth to her 3rd child would not keep them from coming. Her kids said, well if she isn’t here by “Thanksgiving you’ll just have her in Paris”, well it did not come to that.
A year later I brought S. with me for the first time, we had been together for 2 months. Now tomorrow when we’ll have our Thanksgiving dinner we’ll be there together for 6 years and with a toddler. The party will be made up of 19 people. There are my parents, my sister, my 5 cousins from my dad’s side of the family (aged between 7 and 14), my aunt with her husband and uncle with his wife, my grandfather, my best friend with her boyfriend, a good friend of the family, S., little one and I. My dad has been cooking all week to make it just as special as every year.
I do think that in my family we love Thanksgiving. It is a great way to see one another without it impacting on Christmas. After all Christmas is a holiday where everyone seems to have family obligations as well as ideas of how it should be. Thanksgiving being an imported holiday for us is a great way of having a family reunion for which we can create our own traditions. Visiting Paris is one of them.
All of these photos are from last year, if you are wondering about the size of our Turkey, which I think weighed 10kg and barely fit into my parents oven (which is a huge oven) then you can see that here. I think that my vegetarian and vegan readers will prefer it not being inside of the post… If you are wondering, the photos of rose and the building were taken at the Foundation Louis Vuitton (definitely worth a visit!) and the other two pictures are of sweets and of chocolate mousse in the making.
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Did you always celebrate it, or is it a tradition you adopted like I did? What is your fondest Thanksgiving memory?
Have a great Thanksgiving!
© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.