For a Family Abroad, a Thanksgiving Journey

by Corinne Purtill

It’s late Tuesday night after work and I’m elbow-deep in a bowl of pumpkin batter for my daughter’s London preschool class. The children are encouraged to share with the class their Special Cultural Traditions. Last week was Dewali. Before that it was Black History Month, which in Britain is October and not February. Next month I will dress her in a red shirt and black pants so she can play Hunter #4 in their safely secular Christmas performance of “Peter and the Wolf.”

This week, however, is Thanksgiving. We are Americans. Thus the mini-muffin tray and the can of Libby’s I’ve been saving in the back of the cupboard for the last 11 months. No eggs, though. You can’t bring treats with eggs. Or nuts. Some rules supersede special traditions.

I did not expect this, that my child would be the one in the class from someplace different. Not someplace exotic. There is nothing exotic about being an American in London, or in most of the world for that matter. Our culture precedes us like medieval minstrels, a garish parade of Miley Cyrus and KFC and “Friends” re-runs everywhere, always, in perpetuity.

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