For close to a decade we have spent Thanksgiving at our cottage on Lake Winnipeg with our family crowded around tables, elbows knocking, as we gave our thanks.
This year we had to tweak our old traditions. We ate chicken rather than turkey, chocolate cake in place of Gramma’s pumpkin pie, and the rolling hills of Hertford replaced the sandy shores of Ponemah.
Rather than spending the day raking leaves at the lake and preparing a 15 pound turkey with all the trimmings, we spent a better part of Sunday exploring a decommissioned nuclear bunker.
It was strangely cool, yet it contributed to our family’s “out of sorts” kind of day. It was similar to that feeling when you wear an ill-fitting pair of
pants trousers, that cover your rumpus, but when you sit down the button flies off. Or like when you are truly jonesing for a McDonald’s Big Mac and have to settle for a Hardee’s cheese burger, except neither roasted chicken or turkey will give you severe indigestion and chronic heart disease. Things are familiar, but not quite right.
The first year after any life changing event is supposed to be difficult. Everyone says so. There are even books that help you transition from the old and familiar to the new and unknown.
The newness of our first holiday celebration away from Canada, hit hardest when skyping with our family. Earlier in the evening we chatted with my parents, catching up and giving virtual hugs and discussing future travel plans. It was sad, but we muddled through.
Things went pear-shaped as we huddled on the sofa after dinner to skype with Clan Carmichael. It was great to see the Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Gramma, and of course our beloved and sorely missed Zoe-Zoe Dog. However, it was also heart wrenching not being able to hug them, or taste a bite of my sister-in-law’s famous sweet potato pie, or to sip mulled wine around our cottage campfire, between games of bacci ball and roof ball. Sarah crumpled first, followed by me, then Emma, and finally Drew.
Thanksgiving left us all in a funk, allowing homesickness to slip in and set up camp in our front living room. However, it is time for a fall clean, and that room is next on my list.
We shall push those sad feelings out the front door, down the hill, and focus on our next European trip. Surely discussions of where to spend New Years will be spirit lifting for each one of us.
And who could remain glum when Zurich, Salzburg, and Barcelona are less than 3 hours away?