I know I promised Trevi Fountain in my last post, but the week has gotten away from me and now it’s Thanksgiving. So, like every other American blogger, I’m going to post about Thanksgiving. This will pretty much be the extent of my Thanksgiving festivities. I was invited to an expat feast, but I’ve been fighting bronchitis and don’t want to give anyone an unwelcome and early Christmas gift and so I’ve decided to stay home.
Don’t cry for me, it’s ok, there’s another one on Sunday and I’m bringing green bean casserole. Recognizing the importance of green bean casserole to this holiday, one of my friends actually muled cream of mushroom soup back for me on his last trip to the States. (Thank you, Jason!)
I’ve never been a fan of this stretch of time from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Well, maybe there was a time early on in life when I was under five and still believed in Santa, where I was cool with it, but from that magical age on, my life kind of sucked. Like many people, I had a dysfunctional family, but mine was pretty extreme and when I was 8, I was put into the state system, and eventually sent to live with my grandparents, which aside from my grandfather, was most definitely not a good time. Oh the stories I could tell! You’ll have to buy the book ;)
Then I got married and mistakenly thought that I would finally have a family to call my own. Turns out I pretty much married the right guy, wrong family. It’s not his fault, let’s face it, I wasn’t exactly a bargain in the family department, but I had the good sense to freeze the crazy out and get on with my life. If I ever marry again, the family will be just as important as the guy, unless he has the good sense to move out of driving range, in which case family is negotiable.
I want to love the holiday season, I really do. I want to look forward to putting up a tree, baking, Christmas parties, garland, listening to Nat King Cole, watching heartwarming movies, and whatever else normal people do this time of year. So I’m going to work on that this year.
I didn’t mean for this post to go all gloom and doom, so let’s cut to the chase because I really do have so much to be thankful for!
I used to remark about how much I wanted a life full of memories, interesting things bought, and photos that we’d taken all over the world. Maybe that’s why I never got around to buying artwork for the house in Connecticut, I was holding out for the real deal. Goodness knows there was enough skill between us to make it happen.
And now, here I am in front of The Colosseum, wearing the Italian sweater that I bought in Siena, and having just met The Armani Guy. I am thankful for whatever it was that woke me up and made me realize that I am in charge of my life and I am the one who makes the choices that make my dreams fantasy or reality, and for finding the courage to leap.
I’m thankful that Jeff knew me well enough to know that I had to do this and that he loved me enough to let me go. I’m beyond thankful that we are still friends.
I am thankful for my grandfather for knowing that I was capable of so much more than I ever dreamed, and for the good financial sense he gave me. And I am thankful for the scholarships that allowed me to graduate college debt free, and for the drive and determination it took to graduate with honors and work my way into a successful career that has me living in Europe.
I’m thankful that I found the perfect flat and that I finally have a space that’s my own to decorate in a way that makes me comfortable, without judgment and without pressure. It really does feel like home. With a woodburning stove, an antique farm table, a velvet sofa, and a shabby chic chandelier in the living room, how can it not?
I’m thankful for my friends who have welcomed me into their circle with open arms, and for everyone who has helped me navigate this crazy move, taken me to lunch, coffee, or cocktails on bad days, or otherwise picked me up, tended my injuries and sent me back into the game.
I’m thankful for my health. Even though my asthma has been making life difficult lately, I have friends in much worse circumstances and next year I want to be thankful that this was just a bump in the road for them.
I’m thankful for Opie who makes everyday a little bit happier. Even when he curls up on my pillow in the middle of the night, escapes and runs upstairs to my neighbor’s flat, bites me, breaks things, or hisses at visiting children. He makes me laugh and I adore him for that.
I’m thankful to be at work today instead of hosting yet another one of those miserable Thanksgiving dinners, where my house suddenly felt like a substandard banquet hall and I, the hired help.
I’m thankful for people who understand that green bean casserole is a traditional Thanksgiving food, and not some “white trash dish” that supposedly no one will eat. Or else, they’re polite enough to keep their mouths shut about it and even go to great lengths to procure the ingredients from overseas for its creation.
And above all, I’m grateful to have the means to support this crazy adventure!
Happy Thanksgiving from across the Atlantic. Feels so strange to have it “business as usual” today.
P.S. How could I forget? I’m thankful for you. That you care enough about how I see the world and what I have to say that you visit and read post after post. When I started this blog nearly 2 years ago, I never imagined I’d have so many followers. Thank you!!!
Just popping in to wish you a happy thanksgiving. I will read your latest post when i get back from my MIL’s in a few days.
Aren’t you sweet? Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well :)
Oh gosh, for you it’s green bean casserole and for me it’s candied yams. Both are Thanksgiving traditions! What is it about inlaws, their mouths, and judgment? 13 years ago we moved 9 hours away from the mother-in-law. It saved our marriage. You are so right–you marry the family as well as the man.
That term white trash has come my way, too, over the candied yams (and other things.) News flash for my mother-in-law: Using that term really lacks taste and manners. However, those that judge and condem are usually projecting their own feelings of inferiority and are usually the poor white trash themselves.
Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are feeling better very soon.
Sage, I love that you blog with such candor. It isn’t all rainbows and puppies (or kitties, in your case), but hey, life isn’t all rosey either. However, despite your frankness about things not being perfect, I can really see that you are doing so much better there. You have a new-found freedom and it is refreshing and encouraging to follow you on this journey.
Happy Thanksgiving to you. My daughter, who has always had taste beyond her years and circle of influence, is insisting on bringing the green bean casserole as she announces the next generation that will be here on our next Thanksgiving. It is one of those traditions that must be carried on for the sake of family and wonderful, warm memories. ♥ to you! Enjoy your green bean casserole. We will enjoy ours and after reading this blog entry, I know your name will come up at our family table tomorrow.
Stay warm and enjoy the journey. I’m thankful for you.
Yes, why is it that some pseudo-gourmets inisist on disdainful commentary when marshmallows on yams and green bean casseroles are presented once yearly? They’re probably just embarrassed about their own backgrounds and want to pretend that their childhood Thanksgivings were spent at Le Circe. They fool no one.
You’re always more than good enough for me, green bean casserole and all! Happy Thanksgiving Sage and Opie!
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey. You have come so far and you can add me to your long list of fans.
I am spending the day with a work friend today since I am unable to spend the day with my family. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that I am bringing wonderful green bean casserole as my contribution to dinner. My friend told me yesterday her sons wanted her to call and remind me to bring the green bean casserole. In my opinion there is no Thanksgiving without green bean casserole!
Enjoy your day, feel better and thank you for sharing your wonderful life with us!
What a wonderful blog entry Sage!! Love the picture of you in Rome.
We are having 16 here at my house for dinner (at least 2 cats will freak out, 2 others will be all over the guests, good thing they are all cat people)…..
I am making a double dish of green bean caserole. It is a family tradition in my family and in my DH’s family I started bringing it when I got married 25 years ago and they all look forward to it.
Wish you were here to partake….I hope you have a nice holiday even though it isn’t a holiday where you are.
Connecticut is COLD today too!!
Sage, I’m thankful for your friendship too!
What? There’s someone who doesn’t appreciate the Americana of Green Bean Casserole? It’s a true American tradition, like fireworks on July 4, peanuts at a baseball game, and barbeque. Ignore that person – because anyone who has to put you down to make themselves feel superior is already far inferior, and so not worth your time.
It is always wonderful you read your blog. I learn something about life every time.
I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and bring on the green bean casserole!
I hope you are feeling better in time for your weekend Thanksgiving festivities! I love green bean casserole… and your blog. :)
I’m sorry you were treated so poorly by your in-laws in your own home. And I’m thankful you now how the freedom to live as you wish!
I really enjoyed your post. I must be totally white trash because I make and enjoy green bean casserole even when it’s not Thanksgiving!! The horrors!! I’ll have to say I agree with you about marrying the family. I am blessed that my DH’s family has always been loving, supportive, generous and kind. I hope you feel better soon and best wishes for a tasty casserole for your Sunday celebration.
What a lovely post.
I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without Green Bean Casserole. It’s tradition!
I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your friends on Sunday. Feel better fast!!
I’m not a fan of either Green Bean Casserole or Candied Yams. I like the yams without the marshmallows, but that’s it. I’m going to two sets of friends this year, watch me grow and be miserable tomorrow … LOL
It is 3 degrees here in Oregon and its 7:30 a.m.!!!! It is COLD.
Again, have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Beautiful comments today. It makes me appreciate the family I have. I’ve never met my in-laws, strangely, and now perhaps that’s a blessing of it’s own.
Love reading your blog! Great picture!
DH insists on green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. He loves it and I’m happy to prepare it for him!
Feel better quickly.
My mil was a highly educated woman who served green bean caserole every Thanksgiving! And guess what I’m doing in your honor. I am going to make a petite green bean caserole since it will be just me and dh.
I used to enjoy Thanksgiving in Europe bc there was no pressure to do anything. And turkeys were kind of hard to come by. We’d pay around 50 dollars US for a small turkey. So we didn’t do that every year. Holidays are always very hard on me too and I feel like I have to act happy in order not to bring others down. That is why I love Halloween. No expectations, just fun.
I love that picture of you in front of the colosium! You look beautiful! Very European.
I am thankful that there are women like you in the world who take chances to make their lives better. So many women live their lives in such despair. And they get stuck. I remember listening to a lecture by Victoria Boutenko. She tells the story of having to go back to Russia to see her mother. Her mother was dying. She said that the last words that her mother spoke was “I wasted my life.”
That had quite an impact on Victoria. It had an impact on me as well. Every one of us deserve to live a happy life. However we may get to discover it.
I am thankful for your wonderful blog. I am thankful for your courage. Oh and I am thankful for your hummus recipe. Yum! LOL!
I hope you get better. Stay warm and be good to yourself.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.
What a great post. I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and I’m glad you have been brave enough to live your life the way you want to.
Sage, love your blog almost as much as I love green bean casserole. I am a foodie and I insist on having GBC at the Thanksgiving table. It’s my favorite dish of the day, seriously. Glad that you are enjoying some this year ;).
Happy Thanksgiving, green bean casserole and all! Must be nice to be away from judgmental inlaws and simply relax and enjoy!
Yum, I love green bean casserole!
Sage, I admire you so much for deciding to live the life you truly deserve. Have a very blessed Thanksgiving. :)
Happy Thanksgiving Sage and enjoy your green bean casserole :-)
Enjoy as well, what life as to offer you. Never beat yourself up for to long with the bad things. You know one thing… straight forward is boring and in long term isn’t the best way to be really happy… It’s what I call to be in a “state of numbness”. I think the really important thing is to feel, experience life, accept the bad thing with the good ones as if they were normal and enjoy every moment of it. What i’m trying to say is… be thankful for feeling :)
P.S. I hope that you didn’t take a picture with the guy in a gladiator suit at the entrance of the Colosseum ahahaah
Love your honesty!! We not only had green bean casserole today but we had tuna noodle casserole for dinner last night. It was my husband’s birthday and his late sister used to make it for him (with crushed potato chips on top no less). Maybe it’s “white trash food” but sometimes what the food represents and means is so much more important than the actual food!!
What a great post and lovely picture of you! As for families, like men, there are good ones out there :)
I’m thankful for such lovely comments and so much support :)
I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who enjoys a good GBC! Perhaps when I use up my US cream of mushroom stash, I’ll work out an alternative so I can enjoy it year round like Sillysomebody :) I was suprised to see the french fried onions widely available in Denmark, they’re very popular on hotdogs.
It’s amazing how memories can be tied so strongly to food. First time I had GBC was actually at a restaurant for Thanksgiving, go figure! And no, it wasn’t Sonic ;)
Madeline, your post in particular resonated with me because up until this past year, I feared that Victoria’s mother’s last words would also be mine. I remember saying to myself out loud in the car one day, “I’m wasting my life” and that was pretty much the day I decided to change it.
And Peach, no gladiator photos for me! The most touristy thing I did was take 2,000+ photos, but that’s more a creative thing than a touristy thing :)
I hope you all had a wonderful time yesterday :)
I love your style. Thank you for exporting it to Denmark, where true style is very light on the ground.
I can only hope that my own Sage ( age 7) turns out to have the knowledge of self, confidence, sense of adventure and love of travel that you have!
Leigh Anne says
You are doing things that most people only dream of. To have a life without any “what-ifs.”
Speaking of Thanksgiving, I have “funny” stores I could tell about my in-laws, but one thing I have to give them credit for… I could serve spam on crackers for Thanksgiving and they would never call me “white trash” (I hate that term) or try to belittle or insult me. It’s just not in their nature. I sincerely hope I am raising my children to have those same qualities and to respect others.
hi, i am just coming by this morning to say thank you for your comment on my blog. coming from you , with such experience, oh, i take it to heart, and i feel so supported. i LOVE what you said. it was just what i needed to hear. looking forward to a happy sunday weeding out more. with newfound inspiration from you my friend. thank you denmark girl.
i want to read your book, :) !! i am so interested in your story now. and, my sis brought greenbean casserole for our thanksgiving dinner this year. it was the best. you are so cute and stylish……fun is still to be had as we simplify. more fun and more style…..oh my god! i am excited!