Over the last few weeks you’ve heard us talk a lot about the holiday Thanksgiving. Considering only a small percentage of our readers come from North America, it may seem a bit like cultural overkill to many of you, so please bear with us.
You see, Thanksgiving is a piece of American cultural memorabilia that we wish could be more easily exported; it’s a holiday that brings the best of Christmas (family and food) without the harrowing trips to the mall and the pressure to express love through money. It’s quite simply a traditional meal, shared most often with the closest family members (+ a little American football and an awesome parade). And underlying the low-key festivities is a notion of thankfulness that we believe is as beautiful as it is universal.
Thanksgiving is a reminder that gratitude is a choice to reorient our hearts, to focus not on what is lacking but rather on what is given. And gratitude is a funny thing – like a muscle, the more you choose to exercise thankfulness, the easier it becomes to find things for which to be grateful. In this way, Thanksgiving is the perfect introduction (or antidote depending on how you look at it!) to the Christmas season.
As expats, we can easily vacillate between appreciation and complaining about our circumstances. On the one hand, there are things like mountains and vineyards and Italian vacations and Swiss trains that constantly cause our hearts to overflow; on the other hand, there are daily struggles with the unfamiliar and distance from family and accents that remind us that we’ll never really fit in.
So this year we wanted to share Thanksgiving with you and orient our hearts—and the heart of this site—toward gratitude. In the spirit of our native holiday, we want to go around the metaphorical dinner table and ask a few of our friends here in Lausanne one simple question: what are you thankful for?
Thankful for Lausanne because is both international and small enough to bump into your friends when you go for a stroll on its beautiful Lake. – Alejandra, Petit Toi
This Thanksgiving will mark 6 months that we are living in the Lausanne region, after spending 7 years in Zürich, and there are just so many things to be thankful for: an extraordinary quality of life – with access to Lake Geneva, vineyards, mountains, farms and charming old villages; being 30 minutes away from real French boulangeries; an incredibly strong expat community and network of new mommies (I’m one of them, for the second time !); incredible sunsets; lots of hills that help me stay in shape after baby #2; understanding what people are saying on the street (no more schwiizertüütsch); being able to say nonante instead of quatre-vingt-dix; caracs and dark chocolate with fleur de sel from Blondel. – Kerrin, My Kugelhopf
As a relatively new mum, I am most thankful for the little moments. I’ve realized I no longer have to always focus on the big moments ahead; It’s the little moments that pave their way to the big ones that make them all the more special. – Eleni, Eleni Eyebrows
More than ever, my heart is in Paris…I am so thankful for the beautiful evenings I’ve spent in this place now wounded forever. I am thankful to be Parisian. I am thankful for our tears. More than ever before a part of my heart will be in Paris. – Cyril, Culture Cafe
I’m thankful for all the local entrepreneurs and innovators who are making a difference in this town (particularly the foodies)! My family moved to Lausanne when I was little and I can tell you, the town has changed a whole lot over the last 15 years. We used to have to hunt for a restaurant that served anything other than pizza, spaghetti carbonara or kebabs. While all those things are delicious, the food trucks, épiceries, confiseries, fast food revolutionists, wine bars and trendy cafés are making me even more proud to show people around a town I love. – Sofia, Sofia Clara
What are you grateful for?