OK, so I’ve missed a few days. You know how it goes. Day 13 I got home from work and the state-of-the-art propane tank hanging off the back of my house had sprung a leak. Day 14 I returned to find a scene from the Exorcist in my dining room. Day 15 was a trip to the vet (prescription: kaopectate) and grocery shopping for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Thanksgiving is a fascinating holiday–American, non-denominational, and food-centric. If I’m being honest, as a kid Christmas was probably my favorite holiday but Thanksgiving looms larger in memory. The mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the green peas with pearl onions, the glazed carrots, the brussel sprouts, the cranberry sauce, the Better Homes and Gardens classic stuffing (in the bird), and the bird–a big, beautiful, perfectly roasted turkey.
Over the years on my own, my Thanksgiving table has gotten smaller, so I’ve paired the feast down to the essentials, with some compromises: turkey (now just the breast), dressing (now made with millet and outside the bird), mashed potatoes (without butter and cream), and cranberry sauce (blessedly unchanged).
But now that I’m living in Singapore, I’ve had to rethink Thanksgiving all over again. Besides hunting down all the requisite ingredients–and paying a small fortune for them–there is the meaning of the holiday to consider. Among the multitude of religious holidays recognized here–Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Christmas–Thanksgiving does not rank. And yet I can think of no holiday more suited to the spirit of Singapore. After all, what does Thanksgiving represent other than vastly different cultures putting aside their differences and coming together over a meal.
We almost skipped Thanksgiving this year, and I’m glad that in spite of everything we decided to celebrate anyway. Happy Thanksgiving, Singapore.