This year, I have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving in a country that does not recognize Thanksgiving — Chile. There is a lot of thought that went into calling this an opportunity. As first, I called it a curse: I was being deprived of rice and plantains from my grandmother’s kitchen — how Thanksgiving goes in a Haitian household. Then, it was a blessing: I didn’t have to deal with any of the typical holiday family drama. But finally, opportunity felt like the right word. Here’s why:

I am forced to improve my cooking skills

Not being home for Thanksgiving means the cooking is entirely up to my roommate and me. There’s no Publix or Boston Market around the corner to save us from disaster, either. This is my opportunity to practice without the pressure of a huge audience. But, if it’s bad, there’s no place to get a backup turkey.

I get a Friendsgiving

As it turns out, it’s easier to leave the States during turkey day than it is to travel within it. Now my boyfriend and two friends can join us in our cramped downtown apartment for Thanksgiving. It will be interesting to cook for five people with 4 pots and 3 working burners…

It’s a chance to explain Thanksgiving to other cultures. Awkward.

I have tried to explain the premise of Thanksgiving to my English students for about three weeks now. To some, I give the PC version; to my students who get me, I give the real version. No matter the explanation, they are confused as to why this is a holiday and why all of North and South America don’t celebrate it.

I have a holiday when no one around me does

I can run so many errands! Stores will still be open because it’s just Thursday here. I can go to the airport easily because taxi and shuttle drivers will still be working. These things excite me.

I can be even more thankful

With less noise and distractions, I can really sit and reflect on the things for which I am thankful. This is an important part of Thanksgiving for me and I appreciate the fact that I am more aware of good things around me.

Patti’s Pie shall not tempt me

Good as it looks, I’m sure I’ll be alright without the calorie overload.

What are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments below!