How Expat Life Gives Special Meaning To My Thanksgiving – By Expat Andrea McKenna Brankin

23 November 2017

While much of the rest of world is setting up for Christmas, the U.S. is celebrating its Thanksgiving holiday this week.

We are one of the only countries I know that stave off the Christmas decorations and music for a few more weeks to get through this holiday.

Historically a time to be thankful for all our blessings, it’s also a time to return to your hometowns to visit with family and friends that we grew up with. Which is why Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year for Americans – many hit the highways and airports to get home in time for turkey dinner.

But I’ve noticed since I’ve been in Singapore these past several years, that many other nationalities don’t quite get the homecoming concept celebrated in America. I mean, what’s football got to do with Thanksgiving, right?

While I did not make it home to New England to attend my high school’s decades-old football rivalry game, I will be able to watch the famous Stonington vs. Westerly game online from my husband’s family’s house in Chicago. It’s one of the oldest football rivalries in the United States, and my father, who played for Stonington in the 1940s, is still celebrated as a member of one of the school’s best teams. So, go Bears! Down with the Bulldogs!

Coming home reminds us not only of where we came from – accents, weather, cultural activities – but of who we are. We remember how much family and friends mean to us. We remember how we were raised and what our core values are.

And as expats living at the other side of the globe, we remember how far away we are from them and we remember how precious those relationships are. Even though we are live so far away, it’s important to maintain those connections so we can feel grounded and connected. Furthermore, these are the people who’ve supported my every endeavor – including moving here to Singapore.

This evening, I’ll be attending a get together for my husband’s high school football teammates. It’s hard to describe the brotherhood that these guys have which was forged on frigid fields on Friday nights in the Chicagoland area. And likewise, there is a special place in my heart for the high school football friends,

Every homecoming brings a new opportunity to continue making memories with our treasured loved ones. It moves us forward.

And while it’s a long trip back to equatorial living, I’m looking forward to taking those next steps.

By Andrea McKenna Brankin, 23 November 2017


About Andrea McKenna Brankin

image: E. Chiau

Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.

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More on The Finder:

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Thanksgiving In Singapore Isn’t Just For Americans – By American Expat Andrea McKenna


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