Grateful Traditions

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃🍁🍽 to all the Americans in the crowd! A day to sit, eat, watch sports, and finally, to remember that we all have something- often many things – to be grateful for.

I will admit, it is weird to spend American holidays outside the country. No one here, except the Americans we know, will mark the day. Maybe because of Covid for the past few years, but more and more we skip US holidays and stick to celebrating the Spanish ones.

Yesterday we did a big shop. The place was crawling with people. Jeff laughed.

‘They’re all stocking up for tomorrow’ in reference to American Thanksgiving, ‘and they don’t even know it.’

In the US, the grocery stores are packed the day before Thanksgiving. As though all of us forgot about it until the last minute. I was always right there with them. Even if I had the Thanksgiving meal catered. Piling two shopping carts full at Trader Joes with the help of Emilie and Nick. As though we were Pilgrims filling the larder for a long winter instead of just the four days of the long holiday weekend. Games, sports and tree trimming. Then, Jeff and I would get up at 4am the following morning for Black Friday and buy all our Christmas gifts before breakfast. It was so FUN!!

We would get the big thick local Seattle Times and go through the ads with the kids. They would get excited, too. Then, Jeff would map out a plan so we could shop strategically the following morning. No backtracking. No time wasting. No extra steps. In and out. Like a bank robbery but with more industrial engineering thrown in.

It wasn’t the deals. It was the hunt. The gamification of shopping, before that was a thing. When we entered a store we split up. We each had a list for that store and there would be no overlap. And no talking. We would recap later.

Usually, there was a break to be had halfway through. At the Starbucks at the Crossroads mall. Near the Big Five. We would have stopped there for some replacement basketballs or some other piece of sporting equipment for the kids. Filler gifts. They played A LOT of basketball and soccer. Then we would forge ahead.

Finally, after the Range Rover was filled to the gills and the roof rack could hold no more, we made our way to The Pancake House in Redmond for breakfast. This was where the recap would commence over coffee and our favorite breakfast foods.

‘Did you see that guy in such and such?’


‘Thank goodness I ran. Got the last Nook on the shelf!’ That was the year eReaders were born.

It was our thing. We’d be home before the kids woke up. Jeff would unload the gifts into his shop in the garage. Every year Jeff and I looked forward to this. And every year we went. Sure, we still bought them other things from Nordstrom or REI. New skis or snowboards. Or some glittery UGH (not a typo – I mean this) boots. But we really looked forward to the morning after Thanksgiving, every year.

This Thanksgiving won’t be like those. I know this because we were summoned to the vet to finally get LuLu spayed and chipped today. At long last. It’s only taken two + months. So I took her in. An hour later she was out and going home. Such a weird thing. Months of hoops to jump through to get her spayed. We were turned away at one point last week because they waited so long she went into season, and they would do it until she stopped baying at the moon and climbing the walls. Then, today, a ‘Don’t let the door hit you on the way out’ type of surgery experience. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Good thing I put the honey-mustard roasted turkey in the oven before I went. I am not sure I could have gotten up to prep it if I waited. LuLu is in bad shape sitting here with me. Crying and making pigeon noises and shaking. They didn’t send us home with any pain meds or anything. It just seems wrong.

Heading to the vet, it was clear that Galicians don’t know it’s American Thanksgiving. The streets were just another Thursday. But Black Friday is a huge thing here in Spain. Deals and adverts galore! People take the day off work. And Jeff and I will be out in the fray tomorrow. Like moths to a flame. Do we need anything? Not really. Who knows if we will even buy anything. Maybe some new toys or treats for LuLu. But Black Friday morning is our tradition. Silly, yes. But we have each other. The most important thing to be thankful for.

6 thoughts on “Grateful Traditions

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