Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in Sweden

Happy Thanksgiving! No one actually cares about Thanksgiving here. Which makes sense, Thanksgiving is very much an American holiday. What with the English heading off to the US and colonizing and all that good stuff. And now we give thanks every year by eating a whole lot of delicious food and watching football. It’s a glorious holiday and one that should probably go international.

I am sitting here not eating delicious turkey and not watching football. I had leftover tacos and watched some weird documentary about football. Yup, that's European football, also known as soccer. Not quite the NFL. But don’t worry, Thanksgiving will happen. This weekend. Of course, we don’t have a turkey and can’t seem to find one in any of the local ICA stores or Vi, or Coop. But we’re working on it. And if there isn’t a turkey to be found in the greater Stockholm region, we’ll find some other sort of poultry.

It’s weird not being home for Thanksgiving. I’ve done it twice before when I was an exchange student and a bunch of us Americans hunkered down, scrounged up a turkey and had a good ol’ time, and the second time was in Australia last year. So this will be the third time I've celebrated Thanksgiving outside of the US and the second Thanksgiving in a row. But still, it’s a strange feeling celebrating a holiday that no one gives a damn about in a country half-way across the world. That being said I intend to make those pilgrims proud and eat myself stupid when we do celebrate.

I suppose this is just one more thing to get used to having moved to a different country. No matter how familiar you may start to feel there are always some things that won’t be the same and that will be missed. And that’s good. And bad. So instead you try to keep alive all those little things that make you feel at home and bring them with you wherever you go. And you should, it’s just as important though to not shut yourself out of all the other glorious things that make your new home what it is. There’s always a balance that needs to be found between the old and the new. Shutting yourself out from either one only leads to beautiful cultural experiences being missed out on.

So move to a new country. Learn the language. Learn the culture. Celebrate the holidays. And speak your mother tongue. Keep alive your old culture. Celebrate your own holidays. Or don’t move to a new country, but learn the language of your ancestors. Learn their culture. Celebrate their holidays. Keep your family history alive by combining everything that is amazing about each respective culture. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to pick and choose all of the good stuff. Which is why I intend to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, and in just a few weeks Santa Lucia.

By the way, I'm thankful for the extra time with CBCC here in Sweden, for DCP putting up with this adventure, for the old parents back home who worry about me, and support me, and listen to me rave about the great things, and bitch and moan about the not so great things. I'm thankful that I can even do something like this when I'm just 23. That's pretty damn cool.

Enjoy the turkey.

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  1. My american professor, who has lived in Sweden for 8 years or so, didn't even know that it was thanksgiving, he got informed by an italian student :) Seems like a nice tradition though. Personally I never forget lucia or midsommar, no matter how far from Sweden I happen to be. Happy thanksgiving!

  2. happy turkey day!!!!
    I have 4 turkeys actually and only need 3..if you lived closer id give you one! i bought them at coop. and the dinner is sunday and ill have plenty of pictures to post on my blog too...20 people i get to feed..woohoo!

    hope yours works out for you....this is my first thanksgiving ever away from home, and my 2nd xmas and i left the USA just before xmas last year. it really is something else to celebrate your culture somewhere else

  3. Totally know what you mean. I celebrated two Thanksgivings in a row in France. It was a bit lonely but our group got together and I made a big dinner.

    This year is my last Thanksgiving in the US and it's bittersweet. (I moved the dinner to Sat to allow more friends to come).

    Anyway, got 13 dishes to go!

    Happy Thanksgiving least in two weeks, you'll be celebrating Lucia. :)

  4. Hi, I found your blog randomly and really enjoy it. I am dating a Swede (in the US, yes it's complicated) and he tells me how men and women are more equal in Sweden etc.. that being said, he never invited me to the resturant. Is egalitarian culture an excuse to be stingy? maybe you have some insights since you live there ..

  5. @ Sandra, thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes. Hopefully, your professor appreciated the heads up about Thanksgiving!

    @ Mrs. Cecrux, thanks for the thought! I managed to find some turkeys finally. At an ICA. It took some scouring and a bunch of grocery store trips but we managed. Hope you enjoyed your first Thanksgiving away from the US!

    @ Sapphire, hope your dinner went well. Enjoy the last one in the US for a while. And as you know from the Thanksgivings in France, you can always bring a piece of home with you. Especially the good parts like lots of turkey and other delicious food!

    @ Clementine, glad to hear you enjoy the blog! Swedes pride themselves on the whole equality thing. I think it goes a little overboard sometimes and one thing I've notced is that foreign women often complain about the Swedish men because they never take any initiative. I don't know that the Swedish men use it as an excuse to be stingy. They just don't know any other way. Keep working on hm though. Good luck!

  6. Im thinking about moving to Sweden? I only speak english there any english speaking classes in stockholm? Thank you.

  7. There are a lot of English speaking classes in Sweden. You can take everything from undergraduate degrees to masters degrees all in English. They have it all. English speakers abound in Stockholm.