So I did end up having a Thanksgiving meal after all. I got invited by a lovely group of guys here to their annual Thanksgiving meal. Even though only two of us in attendance were actually American, it was a faithful rendition (with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc) and delicious to boot. And I had some pretty interesting conversations about Australian politics, voting systems (in particular compulsory and preferential), gun control, and health care, among other things. Spoiler alert: On many of these issues, I prefer the Australian versions. This doesn’t mean for a second I would rather live in Australia than the US (well, NYC), but there are many solutions in these areas which I wish we would adopt. One of the best things about traveling is that one has the opportunity to learn about different cultures, and although Australia seems superficially very similar to the US (and is very similar when compared to countries in Asia for example), there are in fact many differences and it is a pleasure to learn about these. Some of them (as I have written about before) are political, some linguistic, and some have to do with social customs or behavior. (One small thing I have noticed here in the sub culture of gay men is that we say our goodbyes differently. We tend to hug more in the US, they tend to kiss more on the cheek here. These little things fascinate me.)
Josh and I (and the rest of the family, wherever they may be) are making our annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage back to the midwest today. It is always my favorite holiday, it really brings out the best in our family. If I don’t see them during the rest of the year, Thanksgiving is the one holiday that remains inviolate. That said, I have seen my family more this year than any other since I left home in 1985. Not that I am complaining, I love my family — their warmth, their politics, and their quirks.
For various reasons, my family will not celebrate its normal, all-of-us-together thanksgiving until this Saturday. So today, while technically Thanksgiving, doesn’t really feel so. Plus we are experiencing the most shitty weather at the moment. It is very cold, gray, and raining. So I have taken advantage of this state of affairs to finish up all outstanding work that I had on my plate, and have spent the rest of the day reading a bit and going through an small old file box that I had left here at my parents’ house several years ago. In it, I was pleased to discover a number of odd remembrances (as well as a bunch of old bills, legal stuff and prior tax returns which I tossed in the garbage with great satisfaction). Among the items, I found money (about 80 Euros and 20 Canadian dollars), some gift cards of various sorts (BR, Nordstrom, and a couple of others), old business cards and resumes (testifying to the dizzying number of jobs I have held), and some fascinating old photographs from over 20 years ago. I also found an old (circa 1997) stock grant vesting schedule from Apple Computer from when I worked there. I left before vesting, but had I stayed (and not sold) I would have made a pretty penny. And been pretty unhappy. Come to think of it, I am actually pretty thankful today for how my life has turned out so far. And it has been proven to me over and over how things that we think are terrible can actually turn out to be pretty wonderful, and vice versa. So I hope all of you out there are feeling thankful for something or other. We really don’t have to look too hard to see it.