One day before Thanksgiving my neighbour comes by to drop off her house keys. She is going to visit her family in the country side. We always look out for one another here in this cul de sac, where we live.
My eldest daughter who overheard the conversation at our doorstep, says:
‘Are they gone for the holidays?’
‘Yes, we will bring in the mail and feed the cat, okay!?’
‘Sure. I actually prefer it like this, when they travel…When they stick around, they have their family over, it all looks so nice; cousins, uncles, their driveway full of cars…’
‘I wish we could have our families over! Like all of them at the same time! Hungary and Brazil, here in California! For Thanksgiving, or for Christmas! But it never happens, they never come…’
‘Of course they do! Your aunt was here last Summer, and your Brazilian grandma, and maybe nagymama (Hungarian grandma) will be here in January!’
‘It is not the same thing, mom, I mean all of us together at the same time, like for Christmas!’
Well, this is just one aspect of life as an expat. As a Brazilian, I get to enjoy the safety and comforts of this country, the USA. My children get to be bilingual, trilingual, get to travel a lot, know many cultures and have an amazing vision of the world.
As a Brazilian, I get to taste pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top, turkey with cranberry sauce and timid salty tears, too. By preparing for Thanksgiving I could not help thinking of my family, far away…wishing for them to be close to us, at least on these special holidays (eh um no na garganta, uma saudade!).
Most of the time it does not happen. We celebrate important dates away from our extended families. Friends become family, expats like us or the Americans, it does not matter where you come from. We become one family; we cook, eat and toast together! We share our food and thoughts. We choose to be families 😉
As expats, we have a lot of things we wish for…on Christmas, for example…we wish for ‘cheaper flight tickets‘ Oh yes! We wish for our families to win the lottery! We wish for those miles to finally make it to a long haul flight across the ocean 😉 in December! But they rarely do 😦
As expats, we also have a lot of things to be grateful for…our partners, our jobs, peaceful neighbourhoods, freedom, opportunities, the gift of bilingual children. We are grateful for the simple fact we can Skype our families and grandma can see her grandchildren…we are grateful that perhaps, through us, siblings have better and fun opportunities in their lives.
Christmas is just around the corner…and it does not matter how long I’ve been away from my countries (UK, Hungary, Brazil…) I cannot hold that tear!
We miss so many things, we miss so many people…but most of all…aren’t we truly grateful the way our lives turned out?
Our children? They do not grow up with their cousins, they do not grow up near grandma, grandpa, they have an American accent 😉 Our children…we bring them up to the world and the world is huge…Things may not make sense to us right now but I am faithful we are all doing our best. And every little tear of ours or theirs is met with a smile, today or tomorrow.
Wishing you all a wonderful time with whoever you manage to be with! Enjoy it, count your blessings!
E para os Brasileiros sortudos rs que estao embarcando para o Brasil:
‘Jogue suas maos para o ceu e agradeca a Deus se acaso tiver, alguem que voce gostaria que, estivesse sempre com voce…’ Boa viagem!!! Curtam muitooo, relevem, nao briguem rs! Lembrem-se…nao somos eternos; nao vale a pena! 😉