Three years ago I wrote a post for the Wall Street Journal expat column about spending Thanksgiving overseas. I called it “10 Reasons I’m Thankful to Be an Expat,” and I’m putting it up here again in honor of the season (and because just about everything at WSJ is behind a paywall now). The biggest surprises three years on (besides how young my daughter looks in the photo they ran!) are numbers 3 and 8: little did we know how the Trump candidacy was going to turn out, and believe it or not, Black Friday has finally come to Botswana. Although they don’t quite get it: in addition to big-screen TVs, the ad flyers for the weekend also announced “Black Friday” deals on milk, bulk rice, and custard. Hey, why not. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! * * * Thanksgiving, 2015 I love my country, and there are many reasons I miss the U.S. and look forward to moving back someday. But in the meantime, in honor of Thanksgiving, as I sit on my patio and listen to exotic birds chirping through an 80-degree afternoon in Gaborone, Botswana, here are 10 reasons I am grateful to be an expat today:
Somehow almost a year has gone by since I last posted in this blog. It happened in a blink, the way my number of kids went from one to two, the way my baby is now in preschool and wearing Spiderman underwear. Slow down, Time. Now is actually a terrible moment to get back onto the blog. I’ve been working 12-hour days for nearly a month and haven’t had time lately to do fairly important things like get my brake light fixed or eat regular meals. (For lunch I had a snack bag of mixed nuts and enormous handfuls of Famous Amos cookies someone unwisely brought back from America and left unattended in my presence.) The reason I’m so busy is I’ve been making a movie! Okay: it’s a documentary film, but “movie” sounds more glamorous so I am sticking to it.
I have now been back in the United States for two months. During our family vacation/forced hiatus waiting for my new job in Botswana to start, we have enjoyed all the perks of being American in two different states and half a dozen cities. After eight weeks of excess, I can confidently report that I am over the following: Flavored coffees. How much kids’ meals cost. (I swear before I moved to Africa this was three bucks. Now it seems like it is $7.99.) How much everything costs.