Thanksgiving in May

In effort to be just as ironic as Christmas in July, and to remind myself I should blog in a more timely manner, this week it’s Thanksgiving in May!

Though much less exotic than any of our previous travels, a trip back home to the US of A was in order to celebrate the holidays. Eat, drink and be merry with as many people and in as many familiar places as possible: challenge accepted! While we had great fun enjoying not one but three Thanksgivings in Columbus, then Holgate, Ohio, and in Janesville, Wisconsin, it was exhausting.

Going home to Columbus is always an exciting affair, but we tend to cram in way too much activity. This time around, we had the added pressure of visiting from abroad, which meant we weren’t sure the next time we’d be in town, let alone the country. Between endless social visits, shopping trips and eating as many Chipotle burritos as possible [yes, more than one meal per day], we ran ourselves ragged! J-Mar also had a very untimely illness, which made socializing all that more difficult.

Still, he managed to make it out to a fun happy hour we had in Gahanna. So many people in our lives came out to see us; going home is always a humbling reminder of how many great people we have in our lives. It was almost like a second wedding reception – family, friends, friends of family, old family friends, you name it! Thanks to everybody who made time in their day to come hang out!

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J-Mar and his college buddies, my long-haired Dad with Jake and Mom, Joe and Susan!
Some of my awesome high school friends!
Rice hats for Mom and Dad C, me and Mom!

Being the nomads we are, we don’t often get to be in the same place as all of our siblings at once. Luckily, all three of my siblings and some extended family were able to gather for the first of Thanksgivings. Mom, Alan and Grandma even made it all the way from New Orleans! Mom- and Dad-Mar were gracious enough to let us all exchange early Christmas gifts in their living room, and my nieces had fun with their new rice hats.

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J-Mar and AP, me and Emma
AP in her new hat, J-Mar with P-Mar and Maggie
Jacob and Grandma M, Alan and Grandpa F

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Later we had a family dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant! Totally traditional Thanksgiving. :)

A three hour drive took us to our second Thanksgiving, where we introduced the selfie stick to northwest Ohio. As you can see, some people took to it quicker than others. My only regret is that Grandma and Grandpa B weren’t in some of the photos. We also had a lot of fun doing a Korean white elephant game, where all the kids got to open random souvenirs we brought back, including an extra selfie stick, chopsticks and some Pocky sticks. Lots of sticks.

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Cousins are even more fun the older you get! I’ve got 10 of them on this side of the family!

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From top left: Katie, Nancy, A-Mar, J-Mar, Jacob, Hannah, Madison, Chelsea, Alek, Kirsten and Abby!

After a sadly short two days in Holgate, we were reminded of the joy (ha!) that is the American rest stop on our four-hour highway journey to Chicago. Worlds collided when we had another happy hour that brought together friends from all over. Thelma and Sam from a past life in Houston, Lara from the Korea circle, Monica and Srinu whom we met in Vietnam, and Albert from college days in Ohio. What a small world that we could have a drink with all of them at once in the same place!

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Lara and I can never resist the kimchi sign.

Thanks to Albert for hosting us and putting up with our car trouble times two with almost getting towed and battery problems! Despite the trouble, we were on our way to Wisconsin next, being sure to stop for our umpteenth burrito and a stock-up shopping trip at Target. It was weird to walk through the aisles and take in all the different items for sale. So much deodorant! The dollar aisle! ACTUAL large-size dog stuff!

Did I mention how cold it was? Seriously, there had to be some record temperatures and snowfall while we were there. Even growing up in the north, I have never seen a white Thanksgiving until 2014. The downfall to all those enticing pit stops was getting in and out of the car. Brrrrr!

I really wish we had captured some photos of our very busy (third) Thanksgiving. Our now-three-year-old nephew Evan (what a cutie pie!) entertained his Uncle Jeffrey and Uncle Amanda. :) We also spent some much needed, rare quality time with the rest of the -Mars, had a delicious turkey feast, and helped Grandma settle into a new living arrangement. The boys did a great job moving all the big furniture while the ladies got to help with the shopping. I think we were all grateful the family kept it together through the chaos.

The biggest disappointment of the trip, by far, was saying goodbye so much. A visit home can be just what the doctor ordered, but be careful about how you arrange it! We still haven’t gotten the hang of how to stay put when we travel abroad, but can you blame us? The world may be full of great places, but it’s also full of great people and we just can’t pass up the temptation to see them all.

Who says you can’t have a grateful heart all year round? It may be May, but I’m certainly still thankful for everyone who shared in part of our Thanksgiving.

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