An Open Letter to the Families on Thanksgiving

The Three Families

This morning I woke up and I realized that this would be the second straight year that I missed our Thanksgiving day tradition. I walked outside and it wasn’t Orange County, California, it was Geneva, Switzerland and I wondered to myself…how did I get here?
I know that in years past, there have been other families that joined our little group, but I think we all know that it was and always will be the Chons, the Paeks and the Ans (or is it Chungs now?). Our yoot-no-rhee battles were a thing of legend.
Years ago, my mother made such a bad turkey that she was banished to culinary purgatory for something like 15 years. I hear that last year, she returned to the Glory Oven and redeemed herself. This year, she is charged to duplicate her mighty deed, as she has mentioned this to me every time we talk.
The day is inseparable from the many great memories our families have shared. Who can forget the time Tim got drunk off apple cider? He was 13 or 14 as I recall. Or the time Moses beat Tim with a pillow…I think we called this particular incident ‘The Rage’. Our favorite memory, of course, was Ivy beating her armpit down to a pulp with Grace’s bedstand. If this didn’t make much sense then, it certainly makes less sense today.
One thing I’ll always appreciate is how our parents kept the spirit of Thanksgiving pure and alive. We shared what we were grateful for, which is something that should be easy and natural on a day to day basis, but almost never is. We prayed, gave thanks, and almost always had leftovers.
Put simply, on this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful and thankful for the many sacrifices our parents have made to allow me to be in Geneva, Switzerland today. Or Ivy in San Francisco. Or Peter and Rebecca in Beijing, Tim and Michael in Korea, Grace in New York. I hope to share this day all together again, but something good tells me that maybe this chapter has passed.
I’ll end on this. I remember when I was young, how we played hide-and-seek in the An’s household. The game would take on a particular urgency when it was just about time to go home. None of us wanted to leave, and we did our best to hide from our parents when they said “TIME TO GO HOME”. We hated that.
I find it ironic now, that it’s mostly the kids who are responsible for us not being together on this day. We all assumed that when we got old enough we’d graduate from the kid’s table and join the adults at theirs. The kids table is emptying, more or less, and only now do I know that this is the way of things.
I miss you all, but I’m still happy today. I wish to be with you, but I have food to eat here, so tell halmuhnee not to worry.
Happy Thanksgiving and good luck on the turkey Mom.
PS Save me some of the skin, please.


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