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U.S. Holidays in Foreign Lands

When I was listening to the program today about the woman in Japan whose friend asked her if she believed in Jesus Christ, this recent experience about U.S. holidays came to mind:

Over Thanksgiving this year I flew to England to walk through the towns where my maternal grandparents grew up. I was taking a local train from Bromley Cross to Bolton and asked a woman (about 55 or so) who was also waiting at the station if I was standing on the correct side of the platform for that train.

We sat together on the train and chatted about the usual things, where I was from in the U.S. and my occupation, her children, was she ready for Christmas, and so on. She asked me about my trip and why I was traveling in November when it's not exactly warm and sunny in England. I told her that because of the Thanksgiving holiday I had an extra vacation day and also that I enjoyed traveling when it was less crowded with tourists.

Her next question was a little surprise, "What is Thanksgiving?" I got a little uncomfortable, wondering how much I should get into her countrymen fleeing England because of religious persecution. So I glossed over that part of the history (hoping she wouldn't ask) and moved directly to the Pilgrims, Native Americans, celebration of bountiful harvest, food and family. She breathed a sigh of relief, smiled broadly and said, "Thank you so much. I've been reading Danielle Steele books for years, she always writes about Thanksgiving. Now I finally know what she was talking about."

Sometimes those cultural things just aren't as touchy as they first appear!



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