Posted on November 24, 2011 by


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I don’t usually do this, but today I am going to talk about what I’m thankful for.

You see, usually on Thanksgiving I am too busy stuffing myself silly to stop and appreciate what I have in life. Usually I expect to have all the turkey I can eat, along with mashed potatoes, corn, and maybe some string beans – everything cooked exactly the way I like it. Every Thanksgiving since my childhood has been an extension of my childhood, a day when I would regress to a childlike mentality, one in which all I knew was lack and fulfillment.

And then last year came along, and I had to make my own Thanksgiving. With the help of many wonderful people, we created a Thanksgiving that I will never forget. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and salads and cranberry sauce, we had khatchapuri and apple pie and khinkali and borscht and lord knows what else, I can’t even remember it all.

And the sole impetus driving me, at that point, was that I was determined to make Thanksgiving be meaningful.

But I’ve realized something in the last year. Thanksgiving isn’t meaningful because we have turkey. Thanksgiving is meaningful because of who we have turkey with.

So this year – on another Thanksgiving on which I cannot be with my family, another Thanksgiving on which instead of having off, I worked from 10:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night, another Thanksgiving that means nothing to most of the people around me – this year, I would like to impart some significance to this day by taking a moment to be truly thankful for all of the people who make my life meaningful, who support me, stand by me, and share their lives with me.

The first Thanksgiving, as the story goes, was held by a small group of people, far away from home, getting by on the hospitality of the natives they found when they journeyed across the ocean. And in that tradition, I want to say how thankful I am for the hospitality of the Georgian people, who enrich the lives of TLGers and other visitors by sharing their food, drink, and homes with us.

And unlike those Pilgrims, I have a computer and a Skype account. I am thankful that even though I am thousands of miles away, I can speak with my family whenever I need to. I am thankful that I have a wonderful family to speak to.

I think I never really understood this holiday – never understood the significance of taking a long journey and relying on the kindness of strangers, and what that kindness must have meant to the original American colonists – until I came to Georgia.

And so finally, I would like to thank the TLG staff for bringing us here, for being our hosts and our support network and for all the hard work they do to make sure that we can live and thrive in this country.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!