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Thanksgiving Message from Robert S. Needham, U S Consul General in Milan November 2022

Thanksgiving Message from Robert S. Needham, U S Consul General in Milan, for
November 2022

It brings me great joy to wish the readers of EasyMilano a very happy Thanksgiving on behalf of everyone at the U.S. Consulate General in Milan. Two years ago, I wrote a Thanksgiving message here at a time when we were still reeling from the COVID pandemic. It was a time when the very idea of bringing people together was fraught with peril. Now, life feels like it has returned to something closer to normal and we can count this among our many blessings this year as we gather – and feel much safer doing so – to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving for many Americans evokes a certain kind of nostalgia for tradition. For some, the holiday calls to mind images of picturesque New England villages straight out of Norman Rockwell, for others it is Macy’s parade, football games, comfort foods, or just meaningful time spent with family and friends.

For those of us living abroad, that nostalgia can be even more acute. We are at a farther remove from the familiar, from the traditional holiday trappings. With more than 30 years as an American diplomat, almost all of that time spent abroad, I’ve learned that the best traditions are those we can continually reinvent in new places, shared with new friends.

I imagine this is something most of you have experienced. Maybe there isn’t the big spread of turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and so on. But you’ve had a celebratory aperitivo with friends, perhaps wowed company with an inventive pasta con tacchino for the big day. We’ve all done something to mark the moment and, with our international friends, taken the time to tell a story about what Thanksgiving was like for you and your family. And isn’t that really the heart it? The simple acts of gathering, sharing, good cheer, and giving thanks?

If you’ll indulge me, one thing I’m especially excited about for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday is that it conveniently coincides with the World Cup. On November 25, the United States will meet England in its second game of the group stage. Thanksgiving football on Thursday and World Cup football on Friday. I am quite certain some of your holiday festivities will be extended an extra day and that we will be able to give special thanks for a great performance from our men’s national team. Fingers crossed.

However you choose to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope it will include taking a break, slowing down, and being fully present for the beauty that surrounds us here in Milan. There may not be the Macy’s parade, but there is always an evening passeggiata in Parco Sempione, which is a perfect time to reflect on all the big and little things for which we are grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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