Step 1: Forget entirely about Thanksgiving until your brother sends you his "Happy Thanksgiving" via the Facebooks.
Step 2: Briefly consider feeling sorry for yourself. Banish such thoughts and decide to walk downtown for lunch. It's a beautiful day!
Step 3: Forget that you left your wallet at home until you're about to buy your food. Gibber wildly and flee in shame. Eat lunch (with pudding!) at home and return to school.
Step 4: Back at home, it's time to assemble your feast! In this case, the feast consisted of fried chicken, creamed spinach, and more pudding.
Step 5: Noms.
Step 6 (and essential to a truly "pro" Thanksgiving experience): TaeKwonDo. Smile when your Canadian friend wishes you a happy Thanksgiving and learn to kick butt.
Step 7: Step out into a surprisingly snowy night and let yourself laugh with the sheer joy of thousands of fluffy ice crystals floating all around you.
Step 8: Feel grateful for all of it:
The family that (despite a 14+ hour time difference) sends you timely well-wishes for holidays you completely forgot about
The absentminded forgetfulness that nevertheless led to a really nice walk
The beautiful day to walk in
Fried chicken and pudding
taekwondo with awesome Canadian friends and 6-year-olds that give you an encouraging thumbs-up when you have to demonstrate something for the class
And the fact that you still get giddy with joy when you walk into a gentle downfall of snow
Living here has been a massive learning experience, and not always a joyful one. Sometimes I feel like I'm wading through deep tar, just trying to make it through the school day… but there's something hardwired into Thanksgiving (after someone tells me what day it is) that asks me to find the things I'm grateful for, even when it's a normal day of work-home-dinner-taekwondo-home. Maybe especially then.
So what am I thankful for on this completely average day in November?
So, so much.