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2005-11-22 - 5:59 p.m.

...Thanksgiving, yeah, whatever...

Thanksgiving is upon us, and I'm feeling an overwhelming emptiness. K was supposed to be here by now, he was what I was supposed to be thankful for. The visa process is stuck in some kind of awful rut, and I'm stuck here alone.

I've passed up the opportunity to go home to my parents because the thought of fighting airline traffic to and from St Louis for two days is just too much. I am exhausted and drained from this semester and from dealing with bullshit. The thought of additional travel is just too much for me.

I've invited two NYC friends - J and Katherine - to come for Thanksgiving day. The thing is, they are not entirely reliable people. I've purchased enough food for the three of us, but there is a good chance that I will good a large meal that I will then share with my cats. Both of them have a long history of cancelling on me.

To top it all, I realize that the character of Thanksgiving has changed completely for me. It used to be a traditional holiday in which I was enveloped by family and family traditions - right down to the annual argument with my brother about whether we would listen to Christmas music or Tom Petty. But tradition is tradition. You miss those little battles.

But after several years of celebrating Thanksgiving in Europe, I miss bringing the holiday to my friends there. Each year I gave them one assignment: Come prepared to share with everyone one thing for which you are thankful. I miss seeing them standing in a circle, holding hands, and each sharing that one thing. I miss introducing them to a feast of traditional foods, and their taking it all in with humor and love and gratitude. When you have to explain Thanksgiving to strangers for the first time, you see the light in their eyes as they think about all the things for which they should be thankful. It's not a typical German characteristic, to consider your good fortune in life! You see that Thanksgiving is a wonderful American tradition. Furthermore have to rediscover the meaning yourself, and it becomes something deeper.

I have heard people around me express their frustration with their families. Thanksgiving is a tedious holiday of dealing with relatives. But I wonder how they would feel if they were alone, without them.

This year just feels empty. I am in the wrong place. I am very alone. and I am very sad.

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