“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people” ~ Unknown
Over decades of traveling and discovering new horizons, there were many wonderful things that created excitement. The discovery of new landscapes and architecture, communicating with people who spoke different languages, learning about other cultures, experiencing other habits and customs, and definitely tasting and savoring new foods. There were times when enjoying some of the most simple moments in life, like sitting at a cafe in another country, brought a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. All of those travel adventures have and continue to generate great memories and amazing stories to share.
I grew up in France. Naturally, I got used to French holidays and national celebrations. We celebrated Christmas, Easter, Labor day, and a few other religious days, as well as Bastille day, which would be the equivalent of Independence day in the United States. That was until my late 20s when I immigrated to the United States.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is to embrace new cultures and differences, and to adapt to them. It is actually incredible how much you can learn from living in a foreign country, if you’re willing to adapt and be flexible. I experienced this firsthand as a French citizen living in the US. I was eager to learn about a culture that was, and still is, very different from the one I was accustomed to growing up, while also willing to “be a part” of what I considered my new place. With that came new holidays and national celebrations. I embraced them wholeheartedly and discovered what became my all-time favorite annual celebration - Thanksgiving.
What is there to NOT like about Thanksgiving?
A true “day off” surrounded by friends and family and whomever they bring, because everybody is welcome. I absolutely love that. It is all about getting together and having the most wonderful time, potentially meeting new people, carrying meaningful conversations, and truly enjoying an amazing and unique meal. Because let’s face it, I was born French, I love food; So yes, gather a group of people at a table around a great meal and I’m in, no questions asked.
Even though traditional american Thanksgiving food is unlike anything we cook in France, I’ve fallen in love with all of the dishes. The delicate combination of savory and sweet flavors together with dishes that are prepared only once a year make the experience something truly exceptional that I always look forward to.
2020 has been marked by global events that have made traveling and adventuring difficult if not temporarily impossible, at least from an international perspective. And with that, for the first time in over 20 years, I will miss my favorite American celebration this year. Which makes me realize how meaningful it can be to embrace another culture and experience its national celebrations.
May we always be willing to embrace other cultures and the uniqueness they offer!
PS - here is one of Janelle's favorite Thanksgiving recipes
FERMENTED CRANBERRY RELISH
3/4 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed)
1/4 - 1/2 cup raw honey
12 ounces whole cranberries
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 tsp cinnamon
- Rough chop/blend cranberries in blender.
- Place all ingredients in a quart size jar and mix around.
- Cover with a lid and allow to sit in counter for at least two days and then taste. (I have let mine sit out 1-2 weeks depending upon taste.)
- Store in fridge.
- Enjoy as a side dish or garnish to almost anything!