In this country, unfortunately, today is a work day like any other.
I live in a small village near Zürich, Switzerland, with my wife and dog, and on Thursday morning I will be getting on the train, as I do every morning, and will be heading to my office.
The train will be filled, as it is every morning, except Sunday, and so I will stand for the twelve or so minutes that it takes to reach Stadelhofen station, which is a short walk from my office. I will read the tabloid-sized newspaper, 20 Minuten, which is available free on the train platform, or I will listen to German-language podcasts on my iPod. Either way, it is a pleasant enough ride, and I enjoy it.
There’s no need to feel sorry for me for missing Thanksgiving in the U.S. this year. I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it is especially beautiful at this time of year, with Christmas lights and markets and something called Glühwein (look it up). Every day from the windows of my top-floor flat I can see Lake Zürich below and the snow-covered mountains beyond. Some days, when I am tempted to take that view for granted, I have to remind myself that living here has been for me a dream come true.
So, am I thankful this year? You bet I am. I am thankful for being able to live here, I am thankful for meaningful and challenging work to do, work I believe in and feel passionate about, and I am thankful for the people with whom I get to do this work.
Beyond that, I am thankful for my family. I look forward to talking with a few of them later today through the technological miracle known as FaceTime (thank you, Apple). And I will study the faces of my daughters, and they will pretend not to notice if I cry when I see them. They are both married and live too far away, but we talk regularly, share photos about our lives on Instagram, and commiserate about election results. I love them more than I can say.
I will also be seeing my three-year-old grand-daughter, via Facetime, and if she’s in the mood, she will sing me a song – maybe “Jesus Loves Me” (which she is learning in the Cherub Choir at her church). I love her too, more than I can say.
And then there is the grandson, who will make his debut into the world early in the new year. I am thankful for him already. (No, the truth is, I am coming out of my skin with excitement.)
I have people in my life who love me and care for me and keep me honest. I am especially thankful this year that we were all in agreement about the election and who should win.
Is there more? Yes, too much to include here, though I will mention my health because older people tend to do that. And you should know that I am thankful for my faith too. I don’t see how I could have made it through the last year without it.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! It’s a good holiday, whether you’re a U.S. passport holder or not. It’s a good idea to start the day by remembering what there is to be thankful for.
(Photo: On Thursday night at 6:00 the Christmas lights on Bahnhofstrasse – called “Lucy” for some reason – are switched on, and that’s pretty cool.)