Today Thanksgiving arrives for me in Germany.Â And if I only paid attention to my microcosm of a world here in the Rheingau, it would pass just like any other Thursday during the fall.Â I had class from 1pm to 9pm today.Â I am preparing for two final exams next week, as well as finishing work on a term paper and a presentation in German.Â If it was not for my contact with the states and my own internal clock, I would have had no idea I was in the midst of a holiday I would have celebrated eagerly any other year.
But the fact that I am American causes me to miss my family and friends on this particular seemingly normal day.Â Fellow Americans here wish each other a Happy Thanksgiving, but it still does not truly register.Â Normally I would be eating a lot with extended family as most Americans do, and I would have run in a Thanksgiving 10K race this morning in Cincinnati, as I do most Thanksgivings of late.Â This year it was the 100th anniversary of this race, the eldest one on Thanksgiving Day in America.
But instead I am in a new situation.Â So, I can do one of two things.Â As most Americans here and elsewhere abroad have a tendency to do, I could gripe about missing home.Â I could complain that I am missing the company of family and a feast.Â However, in so doing, I believe I would be utterly insulting to the spirit of the holiday.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what you do have, rather than miss the things you do not.Â This year I had the chance to take an incredibly cool trip to the other side of the world.Â And I do not see how I can take on something so great as this opportunity, and at the same time complain that I cannot take part in this holiday.Â I would feel like a hypocrite.Â You cannot have your cake and eat it too; God does not give anyone two cakes.
So today I am thankful for many things.Â I am thankful for friends and family, and also for the gift of being alive.Â I am thankful that technology in this age affords me to Skype with my family while they feast.Â I am also of course thankful to the faculty of the University of Louisvilleâ€™s College of Business for arranging this endeavor, as well as to the benevolent family which made this trip financially possible.Â I would be remiss if I did not take heart in these blessings and only concentrated on my separation from Kentucky.
Furthermore, I believe that today I am acting more in the true spirit of Thanksgiving than any other year.Â The first Thanksgiving was about journeying to a different world and starting something different.Â The original Pilgrims were away from family.Â If they spent that time feeling sorry for themselves there would never have been a Thanksgiving.Â Instead, they thanked God for a good harvest and a prosperous year and ate a lot.Â And thus, so will I.
Happy Thanksgiving to those in the USA!