Thanksgiving as an Expat American in Ireland

There is always a sadness in my heart from mid-November until January 2nd. It is the hardest time of year to be thousands of miles from my family. This year is especially difficult with my mother’s failing health, my father being our glue through it all, and my son reaching the age of remembering things. It all makes me feel I need to up my game.

No longer can I settle for a quiet dinner for Thanksgiving, knowing these are the holidays that build my son’s love of family and festivities. This is also the first year we bought a Christmas tree for our apartment. Ever. In my decade with my husband, we never bought ourselves a tree. Five times in the past 10 years (all but one before we moved to Ireland), we’ve celebrated Christmas with our families which meant family, warmth, light, cheer, and a big tree. It is time to start these traditions, even if it is just with three of us in a rental.

I think more and more at this time of year how I will always be a visitor or a foreigner in Cork, in spite of the deep love and belonging I feel for my adopted home. I know I’m not alone as an expat to feel this way and we support one another through these difficult weeks. Because even though it is usually just a day here or there throughout the year, Thanksgiving through New Year’s is my tough time. In those five or six weeks, I have Thanksgiving, my husband’s birthday, my birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s (the anniversary of my parents’ first date which we celebrated every year with a party growing up). Just before Thanksgiving is my son’s birthday so I even find with each passing year as his awareness grows, I long for family more and more. But I am so grateful that so many in Cork and in Ireland have enveloped me as their own. It really makes a difference.

Now, enough sappiness, I’ll share some links because I’ve been in the news this week about Thanksgiving.

26 November, 2014 my article in Irish Examiner. Read on Irish Examiner website.

27 November, 2014 guest on RTE’s Today Show. Watch on RTE Player.

27 November, 2014 mentioned in Irish Examiner. Read on Irish Examiner website.


If you saw my segment on RTE’s Today Show and want to make my family recipe pumpkin pie that I brought on the show, the recipe is in my book, Bake Knit Sew, on sale direct from the publisher. Paperback signed copies are €16 each plus shipping cost.

And if you’re also an expat and looking for ingredients or recipes, I have a few blog posts to help you along:

Cranberries, Turkey, Potatoes, Stuffing – Thanksgiving Groceries in Cork

Sweet Potato & Pecan Bake

No Tomatillos but Plenty of Tea – American Food in Cork, Ireland

Pumpkin Puree, It’s Like Gold to American Expats

Hey, Expats! Craving American Food? You’ll Like This Post


2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving as an Expat American in Ireland

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  1. I can definitely relate. It’s a tough time of year to be away and I also get really sappy. My fiance is only minutes away from his family here in Dublin and even though I feel like I’m part of the family now, there is really no substitute for my parents, siblings, and their kids, and California is a long ways away!
    Thanks for sharing all the links and recipes, I will check them out for sure!

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