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14 June, 2024
 
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Giving thanks in Cyprus with American spirit and Cypriot flavor

Seamlessly blending cultures at the Thanksgiving table in beautiful Cyprus

Opinion

Opinion

By Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides

As I sit down to reflect on this Thanksgiving Day, I find myself in beautiful Cyprus, a place I've called home for nearly two decades. While the traditions may differ from the familiar scenes in the United States, the essence of gratitude remains a guiding light, not only for my Cypriot friends who celebrate this holiday of thanks with us each year but especially with the presence of two dear American friends who have made celebrating Thanksgiving in Cyprus not just a tradition but a meaningful connection.

Simply put, saying "thanks" goes a long way. It's not just about you; it's like throwing a pebble in a pond—ripples of gratitude connect people, especially in a world that sometimes feels split.

In this corner of the Mediterranean, Thanksgiving isn't marked by the typical family gathering around a food-laden table. Instead, it's a testament to the adaptability of traditions as my two American friends and our families come together each year, albeit a bit late this time due to the complexities of life.

I can't help but express my deep gratitude for these friends who, through their shared American roots, have allowed me to carry the spirit of Thanksgiving across borders. It's their presence that transforms a simple meal into a meaningful celebration, bridging the geographical gap and making Cyprus feel even more like home.

Living in Cyprus has been a unique journey, and while it may lack the familiarity of the U.S., it has woven its own tapestry of experiences into the fabric of my life. From the breathtaking landscapes to the warmth of the people, Cyprus has become a cherished part of my story.

Thanksgiving, for me, goes beyond the annual feast. It's a reminder that gratitude is not confined to moments of plenty; it's a practice that enhances our well-being, offering a shift in perspective that can be mind-altering and, at times, life-changing.

Simply put, saying "thanks" goes a long way. It's not just about you; it's like throwing a pebble in a pond—ripples of gratitude connect people, especially in a world that sometimes feels split.

And amidst the festivities, there's an extra layer of joy—the anticipation in the eyes of my daughter, who is proudly half Cypriot and half American. For her, this celebration has become a yearly highlight, a moment where two worlds seamlessly merge.

While Cyprus may not have the tradition of Thanksgiving gatherings, we've embraced the essence of the holiday, holding onto the spirit of gratitude. We've added our own twist, incorporating a Cypriot touch with a roast pork alongside the traditional turkey—a fusion of cultures on our Thanksgiving table.

As we navigate the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, let's not forget the true essence of this holiday. Beyond Black Friday deals, Thanksgiving is about acknowledging the love that surrounds us, whether it's from family or friends. In our own unique way, we weave the threads of American tradition with Cypriot flair, creating a tapestry of gratitude that transcends borders.

So, to all those celebrating in the U.S. and around the world, I wish you a wonderful day of giving thanks, no matter where life's journey has taken you.

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