Two weekends ago, my family met up for a mini-Lovell reunion in South Bend, Indiana. In some ways, our weekend was a very funny expression of Americana. I say it’s particularly funny because in our family of 5, only one of us is actually American. The other four of us descended on South Bend, which we had elected as the central meeting point. We arrived from Vancouver, Melbourne and California to hang out, watch Notre Dame football and enjoy each other.
Like many other third culture families, where we have our home base has moved numerous times, and now where we celebrate our holidays moves based on inclination and vacation days. Sometimes too, the holidays that we celebrate (Thanksgiving is a notable one) alter based on family whim and country we are currently present in. This year, more than ones in the past, we’ll be celebrating both Canadian and US Thanksgiving, with the US Thanksgiving spanning 2 different states. And then Christmas, rather than being where my parents are, is going to pull us all together into California.
And for my family, this thought of where will we celebrate a holiday is a yearly question. In some ways, I have envied families who have a tradition of going to a certain grandparent’s home, a certain cabin, being together in the same certain city. That connection with one place and with that type of ritual imbued is something that I find myself alternately envious of and grateful for what I have instead.
So I find choosing South Bend as the site of our family weekend, and choosing the very American ritual of football and tailgating as our activity, funny but not surprising. Just as we enjoyed Ramadan and added our own Lovell flavour to the celebrations while living in Kuala Lumpur, so we’re enjoying the same rituals, holidays and activities of our currently elected home country of America.