Hola, amigos! I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, this is not a holiday in Mexico, so technically this is a normal, ordinary Thursday for me. However, Thanksgiving holds a very special meaning for me and my family. Let me tell you why…

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When I was 7 years old, my family and I moved from Mexico to Austin, Texas. We were not running away from poverty, not at all. My father was just starting a graduate program at the University of Texas, so we all moved there while he got his Master’s Degree and his p.h.D. 

Living in the USA was a very interesting experience for me and for all my family. Everything seemed so different, but we all adapted to our new life quickly.

My sister Diana and I started attending school, which was very different from our school in Mexico. For starters, we didn’t speak a word of English, so it was a very scary experience for us during the first few days. But after a two or three months, we were already getting the hang of it.

My younger sister Julie spent the first few years of her life in the USA. When she started speaking, she started learning English as well as Spanish. To this day, she still has trouble rolling her R’s.

By the time the school year was over, Diana and I had very functional language skills. In fact, I finished the school year with straight A’s and remained an honor roll student the rest of the time. How about that?

Thanksgiving 2011
Family and friends on Thanksgiving 2011

Discovering Thanksgiving

The whole family adapted well to life in America, and we all liked living in Austin. We started attending a local church, and the community was very warm and welcoming. Through our friends at church, we got to know what Thanksgiving was all about.

Thanksgiving eventually became one of our favorite holidays. My mom especially liked learning how to cook traditional Thanksgiving dishes, like yams, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. We loved the meaning behind it- giving thanks for all the blessings received during the year. It seemed fitting because as a family we all had a lot to be thankful for.

When I was 12 years old, my father finally finished his graduate program and his scholarship ended, so we moved back to Mexico. It wasn’t easy adapting to life there again, but we managed. And we brought many things back with us from America, including Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2012
My parents, my sisters and I on Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving in Mexico

Ever since we came back, we’ve been celebrating Thanksgiving, even though we can’t have a regular Thanksgiving here in Mexico.

First of all, it’s not a holiday here, so we usually have dinner on Saturday instead of Thursday. Also, Mom’s had to tweak several recipes to make them doable in Mexico. But she’s made them even better, in my opinion! For example, you can’t find canned pumpkin here, so she makes her own homemade pumpkin puree. This makes pumpkin pie even more delicious!

As the years have passed, we’ve carried on with our own very personal Thanksgiving celebration. Our family has gotten bigger, too. It’s not just my parents, my sisters and I anymore, but also my children, my husband, and my brother-in-law. Even if this isn’t a Mexican holiday, we like to get together and be thankful, because I must say that we are one very fortunate family.

Thanksgiving 2013
My husband and I on Thanksgiving 2013

Our Thanksgiving

Although we’ve been celebrating Thanksgiving in Mexico for nearly 30 years, our family tradition is now on the line.

In 2015, we weren’t able to have dinner together because Mom was at the hospital with Diana, who was getting chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. Sadly, my sister died the following March.

A year later, my parents were feeling very depressed and didn’t want to have Thanksgiving dinner at all. I completely understood and I respected how they felt.

This year, our family suffered yet another loss when my father passed away in January. Mom is still feeling depressed after yet another tragedy and obviously doesn’t feel like celebrating anything at all.

But I also think the torch should now be passed on to me. I should carry on this family tradition and teach my children the value of gratitude.

I don’t think my husband and I will be able to host a full-fledged Thanksgiving dinner. This year has been rough on us and our business, so our budget is limited. But we’ll have a special dinner on Sunday and give thanks for the blessings received during the year.

Although this year has been difficult, I think we still have a lot to be thankful for. We have work, we have food, we have a roof over our heads, and the children are all healthy and growing. Most importantly, we’re alive and that’s what we should truly be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I would like to give a special thank you to all who follow and read my blog. Happy holidays!

What are you thankful for this year? Leave a comment!

47 thoughts on “A Special Reason Why I Celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico

  1. Saludos! Strongs to you and your family Fabiola. “Strongs” is a South African saying for “Fuerza”. It’s short and sweet and I love that saying, even though I’m not from South Africa. You’re welcome to visit my “casa” anytime. I blog about my bicultural family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Fabiola! I hope your sister recovers quickly & you can celebrate with her & your entire family soon. I live in Austin and have lived in Mexico (Guadalajara), so I can relate to celebrating two cultures. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Fabiola,
    I am Janice from MostlyBlogging. You liked a comment I made on Danny’s site, and I wanted to come over to introduce myself and thank you.
    In response to your post, I have my Masters in Education–recently completed. As part of the program, I had to study immigrants who came to the U.S. I realize how hard it is to acclimate and the challenges you are faced with in that situation. I am a teacher.
    Nice to meet you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to meet you! I’m a teacher too. I teach English As A Foreign Language here in Mexico. Yes, it’s difficult to settle into a new country, but it’s also difficult to settle back into your own country after spending time abroad, I’ve met several Mexicans who have returned from the US and they have this problem. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry to hear about your sister. I will keep her in my prayers. My dad had leukemia and is 15 years clear now. It was great reading about your childhood and your family’s time in Texas. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m from Sweden myself, currently living in Australia, so I obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (as I’ve never even experienced it), but I can see how it has become one of your family’s favourite holidays. It has such a beautiful meaning behind it. Giving thanks and being grateful for what we have is something all of us should do every day of our lives. And having a special day for it? Why not! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fabiola, my deepest condolences to you and your family. Unfortunately, I know very well how you must feel. I’m sending you a hug from here from one grieving sister to another. May you find peace and comfort in your memories amiga.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That is so cool of you to give thanks every year for the blessings received. I myself had some trouble adapting to this holiday cause you know Mexicans don’t celebrate it and knowing the true origin of it, it kind of makes me feel not related, but I manage and enjoy the family gathering and the food.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a fantastic story! My bachelor’s degree is in Spanish and I’ve spent over 20 years learning the language. I love learning more about the Mexican culture (and really love the food!). Happy Thanksgiving – Feliz Dia de Gracias!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. i think Thanksgiving is a lovely time of year and have visited the US during this time. Even though I live in Australia and we don’t actual celebrate the holiday, I do now pause to think about all the things I have in my life. I don’t think it matters where you live we can all be thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Phenomenal blogpost! Really loved it!
    In my most recent blogpost I shared what I was thankful for but I didn’t include something else.
    Doy gracias por gente come tu! Gracias por ser una persona que demuestra los colors de México en otra manera.
    Thanks so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Fabi, I’m so glad you shared your story–it’s just beautiful! This year will be tough, but continue on with celebrating Thanksgiving anyway, and I bet you’ll have wonderful memories (either despite or because how hard this year has been for your family).

    Way to import Thanksgiving into Mexico! I don’t understand why Halloween is taking off here, yet a wonderful holiday like Thanksgiving is relatively unheard of. So it is.

    And this is the first year in a long time I don’t have a pumpkin to puree. I may have to make a pecan pie instead! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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