Thanksgiving has special meaning when you're an ex-pat in one of the countries around the world where this holiday is not celebrated. The only way I know Thanksgiving is through family, food, the Macy's Parade, and collapse. Thanksgiving in Qatar went on for three days and included no less than four invitations to join other ex-pat groups for meals. It was very gratifying to be invited out so many times but I only succumbed to two offers. We all made our own renditions of sweet patatoes, salads, gravies, and more that we cherish from home.
Besides sharing Thanksgiving celebrations this last weekend, I ventured into the desert for a safari. It was very cool. Much of the safari was simply riding around in a comfortable SUV viewing the landscape (picture below and right). However, on several occassions we stopped to really absorb the setting. The last stop we made, the one where we saw this particularly photogenic camel (picture below), the sun was setting in the west while the full moon was rising in the east.
Even though there were about fifty people joining in this experience, there was a deep sense of solitude and connection in what I thought would be a pretty desolate place. It was desolate but it was this apparent void that made room for reflection, connection, and beauty. Arab lands are not filled with the lush colors of more vegetated places but they have a beauty of their own.
Ex-pat Thanksgiving - having a place to call home to which I know I can return and having a new place where being ex-pats is celebrated, even while we work to build another country.