I grew up in Sydney, Australia. We moved house a couple of times, but none of them were more than a 10 minute drive apart from each other. Pretty much all of my extended family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins - also lived nearby.
Australia was my home, and we don't have Thanksgiving down under.
In 2006, when I was 22, Justin (already my boyfriend of 4 years) and I packed up our apartment in Sydney and moved to Toronto, Canada, with the dream of ending up in New York City. We sold or donated anything we couldn't store at my Mum’s house, or fit in our suitcases. This was a big move for us, and we weren't looking back.
My first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Toronto with Justin’s Mum and Stepdad. I don’t think I’d ever even heard of Thanksgiving before moving to North America.
I have to admit, I was surprised to be eating roast turkey. What do they eat on Christmas Day?! But after that first Thanksgiving experience, I quickly adopted the holiday and have absolutely adored it ever since.
I love the celebration of Fall and the harvest, and the fact that the holiday season is so much longer in North America with the inclusion of Halloween and Thanksgiving, both preceding Christmas Day.
I love that Thanksgiving isn’t about gifts, or candy, or heart shaped stuffed toys, red roses, or chocolate eggs, but rather about gratitude.
Looking at back at the past decade of Thanksgivings we've celebrated as adoptees, there’s always been a common spirit of inclusion. We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in so many different places, with so many different combinations of family and friends, and we've always felt overwhelmingly welcome.
There's something about the togetherness of Thanksgiving that just feels like a big, warm, cozy hug; and we’ll cherish that feeling forever. I'm so grateful to have been introduced to the tradition.
North America has been a great home to us over the years, with San Francisco being our most recent base. We created our first true family home in a quintessential San Franciscan Victorian, and our daughter was born an American citizen. Some of our favorite people in the entire world are friends we made while living in San Francisco. We've learnt so much about business, alternative perspectives, and the genuine wonder of Californian enthusiasm and limitless imagination.
But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and it's important to know when to say goodbye.
These days our family are sprinkled all over the world, and we are focused on how and where we want Rosie to grow up. So over the past few months we've been navigating a move away from America, for a new chapter. We no longer need to be in San Francisco for business, and it feels like the time is right for us to start making some more long term plans for our little family.
We're in the process of building a home in Bali to live in for 6 months in the year, and France will be our home for the other half. I’m sure there will be bumps along the way, but we’re hoping that having one foot in each hemisphere will allow us to spend as much time with our respective families and friends as possible.
There are many things that we will take away from our time in America, but the best thing of all is Thanksgiving, and the friends that we made along way.
Wherever we are in the world, we will continue to celebrate this awesome holiday, complete with turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and many a cocktail to boot!