Let me preface this post with a very generic, but very true, declaration of love for Thanksgiving. I know it's steeped in some kind of tradition that I learned about twenty years ago in the first grade, but I've forgotten the history. I just like the tradition of seeing family, of cooking a ridiculous dinner, of looking forward to the holidays. For twenty-five years, I spent every single Thanksgiving with the same group of fifteen people.
Then I moved to California.
It isn't easy living 3,000 miles away from your family, especially during the holidays. And I know 3,000 miles isn't even that much; I have several friends in school whose families live on other continents. But I don't even have so much as a distant cousin who lives out here. My entire family - mom, dad, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles - lives on the East Coast, mostly in Philadelphia. And at times like these, I realize just how far home really is.
I don't like traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays. I don't like it because I hate lines. I'm the type of person who avoids the zoo on the first day of spring, steers clear of ski slopes on Martin Luther King weekend, and prefers red-eyes over convenient morning flights. I don't mind crowds all that much. I just despise waiting in line. And airports at Thanksgiving are overflowing with disgruntled, impatient people who just want to get home and see their families. I really can't blame them.
So this Thanksgiving, I'm staying in San Francisco. I've had a few friends offer to take me back to their families for Thanksgiving, and for that I'm very grateful. Last year, I even attempted to cook something (note to self: bring wine this year). It's Tuesday, 48 hours until the big day, and I still don't have any concrete plans. Then again, that isn't unusual for me. I hate lines and therefore, I do everything at the very last minute.
But I will say, regardless of my plans for this week, one of my favorite Thanksgivings took place on an airplane. When I was seventeen, my mom and I traveled to San Diego for a high school soccer tournament, and we flew on Thanksgiving afternoon. We had airplane food on the flight, and spaghetti in the room.
The food, while incredible, is always second. Family is first. I'll miss them this year.