Thursday, November 25, 2010

saying "siyabonga".

Happy Thanksgiving!  While we won't be celebrating with a big turkey dinner until Saturday, I've been thinking a lot today about being thankful, and how unbelievable it is that Thanksgiving is upon us once again.

It's one of my favourite holidays, though a relatively new addition to the Cloughley Repertoire of Excuses for Massive Eating.  When we first moved to the US, Thanksgiving was a foreign concept and an excuse to take the few days' off from school or work to visit somewhere we hadn't seen yet: Chesapeake Bay, the Virgin Islands, Colonial Williamsburg.  There was also the memorable year when Dad attempted to serve pheasant to our not-yet-developed palates.  As the years passed and my parents' collection of fellow ex-pat friends grew, we gathered at someone's house for a dinner in the late afternoon, replacing our extended family with similarly isolated immigrants.
But then we returned to our comfortably insular selves, and the past few years have seen Thanksgiving morph into a family celebration all our own.  Our day usually consists of serving lunch at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, then lolling around with a few glasses of wine while the turkey cooks, followed by dinner and more wine, then falling asleep to our latest Netflix in the basement.  At dinnertime, each person goes around and mentions something for which he or she is thankful.

Last Thanksgiving feels so long ago, but here I am, one year later, eating samp and beans for dinner... and through the haze of my end-of-school-term exhaustion, feeling very thankful.

Things For Which I Am Thankful (or Will Be In 13 Days) 2010:

1.  The post-volunteer luxury it will be to be able to say No
2.  The ability of my family to remain loving and such an unbelievable comfort to me no matter where we happen to be
3.  Every single child at St. Leo's for bringing a love into my life that I didn't know existed (and that I didn't know my heart was capable of containing)
4.  My faith
5.  Insoles for running shoes that give them a new lease on life when new shoes are out of my financial reach
6.  The Great Avocado Saturation of South Africa
7.  Every letter, card, mix CD, and bag of coffee I got (or got lost) via mail this year
8.  My health and the health of everyone I love
9.  Skype
10.  The ability to read and write, and other advantages of a good education

I think I'm still thankful for the ways I felt blessed prior to this year, but it is the overlooked privileges that I appreciate today.  As the Zulus would say, Siyabonga Baba.
Enjoy your turkey/tofurkey!



  1. This rules. I have two things to say.

    I need my own personal sublist within the Cloughley Repertoire of Excuses for Massive Eating - because I Massively Eat every single day here.

    I also thought "lolling around" meang laughing-out-loud-around. Both things are true.

    I wish we were taking ugly pictures in the kitchen and annoying Mum and running away (well, me and Meg) instead of cleaning up dishes. See you in 23 days chérie xo

  2. I am making a list and checking it twice! It's the list of food jobs that seems to be growing in one direction from Niamh who claims that her French culinary experience exceeds all others, and from you Shin who just wants a big kitchen in which to prepare everything! That list is growing and I like that.

    I am Thankful for the gift of you :) and looking forward to being thankful for the reunion, when we will be all together again at least for a while.