Friday 24 November 2017


I have lived abroad for a long time - a very long time. So long in fact that I use funny words like petrol and rubbish, spell many words with an s instead of a z (realise!), and am often accused of having “an accent” whenever I return to the States. My response: I have a sponge-like musical ear, what can I tell you? Twenty minutes in the deep South and I start sounding like Scarlett O’Hara.

Of course once the King came along, my Anglophile ways increased three-fold.  It got so bad, I started saying tom(ah)to and ban(ah)na, as the King was developing this weird hybrid accent and my husband was having a heart attack.  And yes, this also means that my knowledge of the American holiday schedule has gone out the window. The other day, an American mother asked the King what he was doing for Thanksgiving and he looked at her blankly and said, “What’s that?” Of course I got a look of horror from the mother as if I had set the flag on fire.

In my defence, I live here. My husband is British and we celebrate British holidays (why, hello bank holidays, so good to meet you). Furthermore, I am a totally average cook (I used to call dinner anything I could spoon from a can, so I've come a long way, baby) and the thought of whipping up some pumpkin infused extravaganza frightens the heck out of me. Not to mention, if one looks at the origin of the Thanksgiving 'celebration', well it is more of a reminder of our extremely violent, colonial history that I can't manage to digest (sorry Native Americans)!  Now, on the basis of having a day to be thankful, well, let’s just say, I’m trying to instill that philosophy every day (am I off the Thanksgiving hook yet?)

As you can imagine, in a big city, once you spill out your front door it is impossible not to see something you’re thankful for. Or shall I say, there is always something that reminds you that what you currently have is pretty darn incredible. In fact, it’s teetering on luxury... Only three people living in your flat? Yeehah! No mold or moths in the cupboard? Break out the champagne! Transport running on time and you can manage to feed your family and not go broke, it's time to party!!

Just this morning (thank you coffee) as we rode to school on the bus (thank you for a seat, bus god), I pointed out to the King that a man was sleeping under a sheet of plastic in the park. The King took one look at me and thought, “oh how I am grateful I have a bed.”  You see, city living is reality at it’s most glaring. Makes you pretty darn thankful for your boiler and four walls. 

I’m also keen on trying to find little things on a daily basis to be thankful for… for example, when the King sleeps past 5:45 (a.m); when my husband and son actually make it into the toilet bowl (as opposed to peeing on the floor); when I wake up in the morning and I don’t look 85 years old; when people actually pick up their dog excrement on the street (OOOOOH thank you); when the sun manages to make an appearance at least once during the day...  and when the orange-infused POTUS hasn't managed to get us all killed. See, little thank you’s that pepper the day, they're out there you just have to pay attention.

As for the big things, I shall happily mark the fourth Thursday in the month of November to remind the King that at least once a year we should be profoundly grateful. We’re healthy, we’re happy, (He’s hungry… he wanted me to add that in), we live in a vibrant city, want for very little and we are surrounded by love, friendship and a boatLOAD of Lego (Ahem, the King’s addition again)… I also had 45 years with my sweet, elegant mother before she passed away, and I got to tell her I loved her... so there’s that. And in my book, that's a big thank you. 

Alas, the King may not know what pumpkin pie tastes like (or a food hangover on the following Friday) but he certainly knows that there is a world out there and I’m damn thankful he’s in it.
Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed