Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 09

by Harvey

Once again, I tried today to explain to my parents in Africa what "Thanksgiving" is. Just as we have done in the past years, we agreed that they have no reference point to understand why one particular Thursday in November is elevated above all the others to be that special day when families get together to give thanks. While it is understandable that families ought to get together, which is commonplace in their culture, they did not understand the fact that it has to be on the specified Thanksgiving Day that this takes place, with special food, and only once a year. When I told them that it was expected that some 40 million people will be travelling to spend time with their families, it became even harder for them to comprehend. 40 million people is three times the population of Malawi! (And Malawi is the size on Pennsylvania).

I succeeded in staying away from talking about this Black Friday phenomenon, partly because this is one thing that I have not experienced yet. (I look forward to finishing this post so I can drive around to see the queues outside shops).

However, I do not blame my parents for not understanding. I do not even think they need to understand. There are many things in their culture that my colleagues here would not understand. And this drives me to my point. I am thankful to be able to experience Thanksgiving here even though I dont fully understand what it is, which makes it even more fun. Jokingly, I have suggested to some of my friends to try some exotic meal for Thanksgiving one year. They all can not imagine it!

Each year, some friend has come up to take us to their family for the turkey. This year, a friend I just made at church picked us up to join her family celebrating the day. Without a doubt, it was an awesome experience. The food, the jokes, the kids running around and screaming, the card games, it was a great day. It made me wish every Sunday was a Thanksgiving day. This would be closer to what my parents have in mind, which is possible when the family is not scattered across many states like many families here. But it also different in that for them, such an event is not family oriented. It is community oriented since naturally, in their culture, communities get together ever so often to share bread and share life. Anyway, they will get it some day.

Well, let me rush for my first Black Friday experience!


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