much to be thankful for

Yesterday I received an invitation to a real Thanksgiving hosted by American friends in a palace in town. It will be a huge group with lots of Americans and I think it might be the first time in 11 years that I celebrate Thanksgiving on the actual holiday, instead of just going off to work in the morning and pretending it is any regular old day. The Americans are bringing the food and they have access to a REAL AMERICAN SUPERMARKET so you know it’s going to be authentic. But not so authentic we won’t have Italian wine.

(Also, Mom, I think I might need your Thanksgiving yam recipe if you don’t mind.)


My boys go to a pseudo bilingual/international school and there are a bunch of American kids. The American moms are putting on a Thanksgiving for the entire school tomorrow and I volunteered to read the Thanksgiving story to some of the kids and help out with crafts. I was assigned to two preschool classes, including my youngest son’s, so I will get to see him in class! This is an unusual privilege in Italy since they usually keep the parents out after the initial “acclimation” is complete.


It is freezing here but the sky is bright and clear and the leaves in the park are crunchy. We left a little late for school this morning, but ran into the woman who makes our fresh pasta and the man who sells us our bread and cheese and milk on the street. “Buongiorno!” “Buongiorno!” and then around the corner we saw one of the women who works at our greengrocer’s. “Ciao!” Yesterday evening a friend of mine likened life here, if you do it right, to living in Mayberry and this morning that is exactly what it felt like.


You know how when you’ve had the flu or been really sick for a long time, and then finally feel better? And you go outside and something is different: the air is charged with something that was probably there before, only now you are aware of it? You feel good. You feel normal. And even though you know that this extraordinary feeling of normalcy will probably slink back to where it usually stays when you are used to feeling normal again – and oh, do you hope that feeling normal will be normal once again – for awhile, why not bask in it?

Once again, there are things to look forward to. Countless small joys creep into your day. And probably not even this feeling of normalcy will last forever, so you might as well enjoy it while you can.


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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10 Responses to much to be thankful for

  1. Mauryn says:

    Also, there’s nothing ‘traditionally American’ about celebrating Thanksgiving in a PALACE! Lucky you!! Sounds like fun!

    On those crisp, clear winter days even Milan feels new and bright. I love that.

    • Jennifer says:

      It is kind of funny that we are doing it in a palace, but no one’s apartment is big enough for so many people!

      To those of us bringing food, the hostess actually wrote: “Sorry, but there are no microwaves in the Palace.”

      I loved that.

  2. Sydney Engle says:

    A toast to moving on…It sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving, as always your father and I will be thinking of you and the boys and…I will e-mail you the yam recipe this weekend.

    Big Mama

  3. Sara says:

    Sounds wonderful – the Thanksgiving feast will definitely be something to remember! Will it just be you attending, or will there also be a “children’s table” to make it really feel like a family holiday? 😉

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve heard talk of a children’s table…

    And in any case, I am taking the boys out of school (BAD! I know) but I really want them to experience a real Thanksgiving.

  5. meredith says:

    I know that feeling where life just comes right into crisp clear focus. I love it when that happens.
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving in a palace! Maybe you can sneak some discreet photos ? 🙂

  6. Lisa says:

    Happy for you! Sounds like it will be a lovely Thanksgiving!

  7. Gil says:

    Enjoy your day at school and the feast you are about to attend.

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