Thanks and Praise
photo by Ursula Granirer

Thanks and Praise

Thanksgiving apps

We’re getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in a very small way, then in a very big way, then a third time in a medium way.  That’s Thanksgiving when you’re an expatriate; you get to do it when, where, how, and as many times as you want!

As I plan for the upcoming meals, shared with people from different lands, each of who comes to partake in a fete that isn’t their own, but which they’ve all adopted, I look around.  Aside from those invited to Thanksgiving dinners like my own,  the French don’t have an immediate holiday  to lift their spirits.  So they’re resorting to other ways of doing it:

Le Bon Marche
Le Bon Marche

They’re decorating for Christmas as never before.
They’re getting people to dance on the metro.  


photo by Ursula Granirer
photo by Ursula Granirer

They’re playing the piano that a Mr. David Martello left in front of the Bataclan last Saturday, after he drove it there from 400 kilometers away, set it up, then sat down and played John Lennon’s Imagine.

They are saying, with resounding force, “How do we include instead of exclude?

photo by Ursula Granirer
photo by Ursula Granirer

They’re singing the Marseillaise and flying the Tricolore with abandon.    It’s because of that thing we do. We poke fun at what we have.  But let someone else look sideways – let alone mow down innocents – we rise and gather what we love close.

Love is everywhere
“Love is everywhere”

They are reacting with elegant resistance to unthinkable violence.

I have been a French citizen for five years. I became French for pragmatic reasons – so that I could vote, so that I could help my son become French, and so that I could get in the short line at customs.  I have been overcome with pride at being a citizen of this country, a place I have lived in and loved for nearly 30 years.  I’m sorry it took a horror to make me realize that I am French, and that I am a patriot.

Thursday, I will celebrate with being an American patriot by celebrating the first of my Thanksgivings. On Friday I will be French and do as our president has asked.   I will fly the Tricolore at my window, with pride.



This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Angelica

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I am not French but I lived in France and I was very affected by what happened there. Thank you for this elegant way of showing support.

    1. Susan


      Thank YOU.

    2. Doris Bain Herrmann

      The French are so courageous. Such sentiment so quickly shown here in Portland. Red, white blue lights appeared that same night on bridges over the Willamette River

      1. Susan

        They are, they are!!!

  2. ShePaused4Thought

    “They are reacting with elegant resistance to unthinkable violence.” You summed up French in such an eloquent way. Simply beautiful.

    1. Susan

      thank you!

  3. Jean Libermann

    Hi Susan! Thanks for a very moving entry. I happened on your blog by accident looking for an Apple jelly recipe…… Happy Thanksgiving. I think of you often – l’est get together soon! Bisous. Jean

    1. Susan

      Jean, would love to!

  4. Karen

    Thank you so much for the video of dancing in the is priceless! I wonder if it would work in New York…

    1. Susan

      Of course it would!

  5. Debbie

    For me each terror attack makes me realise how special life is and I too have embraced Christmas like never before. Also having lived in the U.S. for a number of years I do miss Thanksgiving and although we don’t celebrate every year when we do we go all out.
    This year for Christmas I am going to put more effort into decorating and we are already planning our Christmas dinner menu with a turkey and all the trimmings and of course pumpkin pie. We were going to do the summer in Australia Christmas with cold meats and seafood but instead will be cooking a turkey. Not looking forward to how hot the kitchen will be but oh well! we will just have to go to the beach afterwards.

    1. Susan

      Debbie, well, listen, a hot kitchen and a cool beach sounds pretty wonderful to me! Happy Holidays!

  6. Lindsay Kinder

    Susan this is beautiful. I can almost hear that piano playing. Thank you for sharing these warming thoughts.

    1. Susan


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