Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Thanks

There is nothing that says "I love America" more than celebrating Thanksgiving a day late, in Paris, on top of the Eiffel tower, with one member of your family, three of your best friends, and three Irish imports.

Yep - that's exactly how I celebrated.
Thanksgiving in my family has always been a big deal. My mom is an amazing cook, so every year we have tons of friends and family over to our house for a big feast where I gain about 600 pounds in twenty minutes. It's absolutely glorious. This year, for many reasons, was very different for me. For one, this is the first year in my entire life that I haven't been home for Thanksgiving. Two, this trip is the longest I've ever actually been away from my family. Three, my grandfather (who I was very close with) passed away earlier this year, so this is the first year I haven't celebrated with him. So, in general, lots of changes.

Though I do miss my family on a day to day basis, it's easy not to ponder because I'm constantly exploring and doing fun things. However, I knew on Thanksgiving it would be a little more difficult to ignore. So, Angelina and I decided that we were going to add a little family-feeling into our lives and make a full blown Thanksgiving dinner. I invited my brother, Trevor, and a few of his buddies to come down from Ireland and stay with us. On top of them, we also had Julie and Grant in town, so we had a nice group of people to celebrate with!

Trevor and his friends couldn't get a train in until the day after Thanksgiving, so we did end up celebrating a day late, but it was worth it. Angelina was the chef for the evening (I suck at cooking. I can bake like Betty Crocker but ask me to make dinner and hell will raise) so we spent our day preparing and our night feasting. We had chicken instead of turkey (turkey doesn't exist in France, I swear) mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, salad, bacon macaroni and cheese, steamed veggies, and two types of tart for dessert. Once we were insanely full, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower where I enjoyed the view from the top for the first time! It was pretty incredible.

(The Star Wars light saber looking light is the searchlight the tower shines over Paris)

(on the second floor)

(This picture makes me laugh every single time I see it!)
This year I'm thankful for more things than ever before. On this trip, even during the not to great times, I have woken up being ridiculously grateful to have been given the means and the opportunity to do what I'm doing. I am fully aware of how lucky I am and I definitely don't take it for granted. I'm living out a life long dream and I still can't believe it!

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