I know I promised Trevi Fountain in my last post, but the week has gotten away from me and now it's Thanksgiving. So, like every other American blogger, I'm going to post about Thanksgiving. This will pretty much be the extent of my Thanksgiving festivities. I was invited to an expat feast, but I've been fighting bronchitis and don't want to give anyone an unwelcome and early Christmas gift and so I've decided to stay home.

Don't cry for me, it's ok, there's another one on Sunday and I'm bringing green bean casserole. Recognizing the importance of green bean casserole to this holiday, one of my friends actually muled cream of mushroom soup back for me on his last trip to the States. (Thank you, Jason!)

I've never been a fan of this stretch of time from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Well, maybe there was a time early on in life when I was under five and still believed in Santa, where I was cool with it, but from that magical age on, my life kind of sucked. Like many people, I had a dysfunctional family, but mine was pretty extreme and when I was 8, I was put into the state system, and eventually sent to live with my grandparents, which aside from my grandfather, was most definitely not a good time. Oh the stories I could tell! You'll have to buy the book ;)

Then I got married and mistakenly thought that I would finally have a family to call my own. Turns out I pretty much married the right guy, wrong family. It's not his fault, let's face it, I wasn't exactly a bargain in the family department, but I had the good sense to freeze the crazy out and get on with my life. If I ever marry again, the family will be just as important as the guy, unless he has the good sense to move out of driving range, in which case family is negotiable.

I want to love the holiday season, I really do. I want to look forward to putting up a tree, baking, Christmas parties, garland, listening to Nat King Cole, watching heartwarming movies, and whatever else normal people do this time of year. So I'm going to work on that this year.

I didn't mean for this post to go all gloom and doom, so let's cut to the chase because I really do have so much to be thankful for!

I used to remark about how much I wanted a life full of memories, interesting things bought, and photos that we'd taken all over the world. Maybe that's why I never got around to buying artwork for the house in Connecticut, I was holding out for the real deal. Goodness knows there was enough skill between us to make it happen.

And now, here I am in front of The Colosseum, wearing the Italian sweater that I bought in Siena, and having just met The Armani Guy. I am thankful for whatever it was that woke me up and made me realize that I am in charge of my life and I am the one who makes the choices that make my dreams fantasy or reality, and for finding the courage to leap.

I'm thankful that Jeff knew me well enough to know that I had to do this and that he loved me enough to let me go. I'm beyond thankful that we are still friends.

I am thankful for my grandfather for knowing that I was capable of so much more than I ever dreamed, and for the good financial sense he gave me. And I am thankful for the scholarships that allowed me to graduate college debt free, and for the drive and determination it took to graduate with honors and work my way into a successful career that has me living in Europe.

I'm thankful that I found the perfect flat and that I finally have a space that's my own to decorate in a way that makes me comfortable, without judgment and without pressure. It really does feel like home. With a woodburning stove, an antique farm table, a velvet sofa, and a shabby chic chandelier in the living room, how can it not?

I'm thankful for my friends who have welcomed me into their circle with open arms, and for everyone who has helped me navigate this crazy move, taken me to lunch, coffee, or cocktails on bad days, or otherwise picked me up, tended my injuries and sent me back into the game.

I'm thankful for my health. Even though my asthma has been making life difficult lately, I have friends in much worse circumstances and next year I want to be thankful that this was just a bump in the road for them.

I'm thankful for Opie who makes everyday a little bit happier. Even when he curls up on my pillow in the middle of the night, escapes and runs upstairs to my neighbor's flat, bites me, breaks things, or hisses at visiting children. He makes me laugh and I adore him for that.

I'm thankful to be at work today instead of hosting yet another one of those miserable Thanksgiving dinners, where my house suddenly felt like a substandard banquet hall and I, the hired help.

I'm thankful for people who understand that green bean casserole is a traditional Thanksgiving food, and not some "white trash dish" that supposedly no one will eat. Or else, they're polite enough to keep their mouths shut about it and even go to great lengths to procure the ingredients from overseas for its creation.

And above all, I'm grateful to have the means to support this crazy adventure!

Happy Thanksgiving from across the Atlantic. Feels so strange to have it "business as usual" today.

P.S. How could I forget? I'm thankful for you. That you care enough about how I see the world and what I have to say that you visit and read post after post. When I started this blog nearly 2 years ago, I never imagined I'd have so many followers. Thank you!!!