What Thanksgiving means to the expat me

Gobble! Gobble! Aja eating eating! (Photo taken by The Husband)

I never celebrated “Thanksgiving” per se when I grew up in the Philippines. It was just something I read in books, saw on TV and in the movies. To me, the most memorable Hollywood Thanksgiving scene was from “The Addams Family Values”, where Wednesday and Pugsley performed in their summer camp’s reenactment of the first Thanksgiving meal. (“Eat me!” said turkey cosume dressed Pugsley.)

Life went on as usual on the second-to-the-last Thursday of November. There was work. People didn’t go into a state of panic because of their Thanksgiving menu and Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. There was no roasted turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce on the table. There were no TV specials: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, NFL Thanksgiving games, or the infamous Puppy Bowl (i.e. dog shows aired on TV for non-American football enthusiasts). There were no decades old Thanksgiving traditions to continue.

It was an alien celebration until I set foot in this country.

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Mexico City Extreme Layover: I-94 edition

Waiting for our return flight to the US

It was the first time that I travelled so light. When I travel by air, I usually have one suitcase or, at least, a backpack and my handbag. This time around, I didn’t need that suitcase neither that backpack.

All I brought along was a handbag.

The Husband and I flew out to Mexico City, Mexico in the morning, then flew back into Texas later that afternoon. He just needed to update his I-94 form that was set to expire later this month. The I-94 is a piece of paper (Well, it used to be since the US CIS digitized this particular visa related document recently) that states the specific date that you are legally allowed to stay in the US. This form is entirely different from your US visa.

How so?

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LC’s BBQ in Kansas City, MO

Our LC’s BBQ Burnt Ends feast

When you know that a visit to a place is most likely once in a lifetime, you take it all in, as much as you can, in the limited time you have been given.We were in Kansas City for two weeks and we’d never know when we’d get the chance to visit again.

I actually hit a BBQ wall after non-stop Kansas City BBQing in other places. I never had so much meat in my life that my jaws, stomach (and A$s) were screaming for a break. My body was craving for fiber-rich vegetables and fruits.

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Those little winter woes

Stairway to winter? Hell yeah!

Oh winter is really coming.

Daylight Savings Time has ended (the concept to be discussed in a separate post…it deserves one); clocks were adjusted to an hour back. Plus the other day, it was so cold that I added the extra layer – a wool blanket / bed sheet – on our already bed sheet covered mattress to help keep us warm through the colder nights.

I used to be excited to experience real winter, not the kind that we experienced in Dubai. You know the winter in the song “Winter Wonderland”, the winter when “Frosty the Snowman” frolicked with ear muffed, scarfed children stomping through the blanket of shiny white snow or sledding down the hill, the winter where everyone gathered in front of a roaring fireplace, the winter when you’d lie down in the snow and flap your arms and legs to create snow angels?

That winter with the biting cold and, most importantly, snow. And lucky for us, since we live in North Texas, we still get to experience a little bit of snow.

But winter, even if the snow showers are hypnotising, dazzling (I can stare at it as long as the snow falls – maybe a relatively shorter time here in Texas), can be a pain. There are just these little things that I never imagined would make life a little more challenging during the cold months.

How so? Let’s go through a number of day-to-day winter concerns one by one…

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Prospero’s Books in Kansas City, MO

The bookstore on the corner

I was a bookstore hound then. I still am now.

I spent hours, browsing through shelves in fluorescent lighted, commercial bookstores. Almost everything in it was shiny and new. On some days, we’d visit second hand bookstores bathing in the same intense fluorescent whiteness on equally white vinyl flooring with floor to ceiling shelves and cardboard boxes filled with yellow paged, dog-eared preloved books.

Yeah, these bookstores served me well then, providing me with all the books my parents and my own money could buy, but somehow they weren’t the kind of bookstores that actually told a story. This is why, here, I am always on the lookout for bookstores with a story.

Prospero’s Books in Kansas City, Missouri was one of those bookstores.

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#TrailingSpouseStories: The shoes should fit

We all wish we could bring this much (Photo by Eliot Phillips)

Welcome to the inaugural run of the #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl hosted by Tala Ocampo and myself.

This November we talk about our First Voyage as trailing spouses and what we’ve brought with us, rather: what’s in your suitcase? Please, please see the end of the post for other #TrailingSpouseStories.

Today, I chat with Cathrina Legaspi-Del Prado. I’ve known her since gradeschool. Later on, she continued to become a flight attendant based in the same geographical region I was. Hers was a more interesting country though: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But she’s left the jet setter flight attendant life in Saudi (whew!) to join her husband in Texas. Now we’re in the same region again!

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What’s (not) in my suitcase: #TrailingSpouseStories edition

Please forgive the use of the old watermark logi ;p

Welcome to the inaugural run of the #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl hosted by Tala Ocampo and Didi of D for Delicious.

This November we talk about our First Voyage as trailing spouses and what we’ve brought with us, rather: what’s in your suitcase? Please see the end of the post for other #TrailingSpouseStories.

What would you bring with you if you only had 50 lbs of personal belongings to your name?

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Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween decor in the neighborhood

“Trick or treat! Trick or treat!
Give me something good to eat.
If you don’t, I don’t care.
I’ll pull down your underwear”

I sang to The Husband a little Halloween song that I learned when I was small.

“Where’d you learn that stupid song???” he asked.

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Why I’ve fallen hard for fall?

I cannot stop raving about how summer is over and we are now right smack in the middle of one of my favorite seasons.

Its not just the constant Baguio like weather, 24/7 or the beautiful changing of the colors from a deep green to a melange of yellows, browns and oranges. But there are just so many other things why I do love fall. Let me count the ways:

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Pappy’s Smokehouse in St Louis, MO

BBQ as usual!

After having drove more than 20 hours in some of our road trips, 5 hour or less road trips feel like a breeze. And so, being in Kansas City, we decided to make a short trip to St. Louis, which was 3-hours away.

3 hour drive? Pfffffft! That’s nothing for The Husband. And so we soldiered on in the name of the St Louis Starbucks city mug (The Husband collects) and a taste of St Louis barbecue.

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