Family Abroad

Spending Thanksgiving Abroad

Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts
– Oliver Wendall Holmes, Sr.

The quote seems so appropriate as we slow travel through Germany on Thanksgiving Day. As we travel, I realize that “home” is not so much a certain location, but a place in my heart. A place where I feel love and contentment.

My father’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving (St. Patrick’s Day was a close second). And while I still love Christmas, Thanksgiving is unique because the only focus is being thankful. We are not concerned about shopping for gifts, holiday parties or other distractions. No, it is all about being grateful and content in any circumstance.

And while I am experiencing great sadness about not having our oldest daughter, Natalie, with us on Thanksgiving, I am grateful that she has our wonderful family in Texas to take care of her. I can’t to see her in December! I also am thankful that Natalie is an independent, strong-willed woman. I don’t think she truly realizes how much I look up to her.

I am also grateful for my other two children, Nathan and Bethany. Traveling has been especially hard on them as they miss their family and friends. The time difference means that Nathan often stays up until early morning to play with his friends online on the weekends. And I cannot tell you the number of times we get calls at 4am from Bethany’s younger cousins who don’t yet understand the 7 hour time difference! Still, I know this travel experience will expand and shape their minds for the rest of their lives as they experience new adventures, cultures, and landscapes.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to work as we travel through Europe. It continues to be a fantastic experience, but it has been a struggle to balance work (keep sending work!), online schooling, and travel. And missing family and friends, don’t get me started down that path! But the benefits have been worth the sacrifice.

Our last Thanksgiving with our family in Texas. We Miss Y’all!

Finally, I am thankful for my wife, Edith. Elvis sings “Home is where the heart is, and my heart is anywhere you are. Anywhere you are, is home.” And so, wherever we go together, we are at home. I am thankful for having a partner who can make a “nest” for our family wherever we may wander. Today, she spent hours at the Munich outdoor markets making sure we could have a traditional Thanksgiving feast (don’t tell the kids, but the turkey this year will really be chicken covered with gravy as we couldn’t find any small turkeys in Munich). And while we won’t have our usual 30 plus people at our home this year, I know can still be at “home” wherever we travel because of Edith.

I hope that wherever you are, you are home.

 

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