Last week I celebrated my first major holiday in my new country, Belize. Although I had a mini-meltdown that morning missing my family, I was grateful to have others nearby that wanted to celebrate as well. I thought it would be interesting to share with you the differences I noticed between celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States versus Belize.
1. The Weather – The most noticeable difference for me was the weather. Typically by the time Thanksgiving has arrived, it is quite cold almost anywhere you live in the U.S. In California, you will usually have frost in the mornings, and in Wisconsin, where my husband is from, it is snowing. So being in a tropical climate felt very unusual to say the least. It was almost hard to believe it really was Thanksgiving. And cooking in a hot kitchen on a hot day is no fun, let me tell you!
2. The Crowd – Because we are in a foreign country with a large Expat community, we had people from many different countries present at the celebration – Americans, Canadians, and Belizeans. In fact, I would venture to say that there were more Canadians than Americans at the gathering, but in Belize, any excuse for a party!
3. The Food – For the most part we had all the traditional fixings – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. However, some things were different than previous Thanksgiving dinners, like ham, macaroni and cheese, and a 10 layer chocolate cake! All of the food was delicious, and it was fun because we made it a potluck dinner, so everyone contributed in one way or another, which makes it extra special.
4. The Setting – Instead of being cooped up indoors all day as in Thanksgiving’s past (at least in my family), this celebration was entirely outside, except for the turkey cooks who were stuck inside most of the day until dinner was served. We had about 25 people, and everyone gathered around beach lounge chairs and tables. Words can’t even describe how cool it was to eat Thanksgiving dinner on the beach, with the waves crashing and the palm trees swaying – perhaps similar to how the pilgrims might have done it.
5. The Entertainment – one drastic change for my husband and I was there was absolutely no t.v., which meant no football. It also meant no annoying Christmas commercials on t.v. either! For some people, no t.v. on Thanksgiving Day is a deal breaker, but frankly, we didn’t miss it at all.
I have to say I really enjoyed my Caribbean Turkey Day. I don’t think it much matters where you celebrate it, as long as it with people you care about!