So, my friend Joseph spent yesterday morning walking around campus and saying, "Happy eucharist!" to everyone he met. Only the Greek scholars got the joke and smiled. Everyone else gave him the same blank, slightly puzzled look that I did.
Thanksgiving is being spent differently for me this year--I'm spending it with myself. Well, myself and about a dozen or so other students, but the main point is that I'm not spending it with my family. It's a holiday about gathering and cooking and eating and eating, doing things with your family, and setting aside everything else to just get along for a day. For my own family, it usually means doing a lot more eating than is probably healthy, seeing as how there are two complete sets of family to visit on The Day, each with it's own turkey, dressing, corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, dressing, stuffing, potatoes, bread, olives, salad, ham, slaw, onions, carrots, fruit salad, and pies of various denominations. (You never know.) This year, however, my family stayed at home. I stayed at school.
A friend of my mom's said, "Well, you know, we've not spent Thanksgiving with our oldest daughter in three years. It makes Christmastime that much more special." I've realy thought about that a lot in the past 24 hours, and I'll most likely think about it a bit more as the next four days go by. It makes the idea of being by oneself (meaning witout family--I've got an oddly talkative roommate and several other refugees in my room all the time) easier to bear. Christmas is my favorite time of year, something to look forward to starting in February at the latest, and I have a feeling that this one will be extra special. Advent is supposed to be a time of penance and preparation anyway, not one of partying, and this added sacrifice seems like an especially poignant way to start the season.
There's no huge shopping spree ahead for me. There's no Macy's Parade. There's not frantic drive over the hills and through the woods. There's not even the minor concern of making sure the dishes got washed and the cat litter gone clean out. There is only myself and the bowl I used to eat cereal this morning.
I like it.
I miss everyone, though, don't get me wrong. I miss my family and the stress-filled fun we have making dishes and precariously carting them over sundry mountains. I miss my classmates and their tales of home, of thanksgivings past. I miss the opportunity to have a turkey, and to name him Dilbert. Alone is not the preferred way to be on a major holiday whose focus is, according to Hallmark anyway, togetherness.
Time to go back the other direction. I like it. I think that spending this holiday by myself, as I probably will not ever do again in the entire course of my life, will teach me something about it. I also think that it will teach me something about Christmas, and looking forward to it with anticipation that has been flavored by a wait bereft of the teaser-show of Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping and decorating a tree.
All that said, I will admit that I've been listening to Christmas music for three days straight now, but then again most of it is in a foreign language so that doesn't count.
Eucharist is the greek word for Thanksgiving.