I have never cooked a turkey before. As a product of the quick-and-easy-meal generation, the idea of wrestling with a big bird, stuffing it and cooking it for hours on end has been rather intimidating.

I have never cooked a turkey before. As a product of the quick-and-easy-meal generation, the idea of wrestling with a big bird, stuffing it and cooking it for hours on end has been rather intimidating.

But I am happy to announce that my wife, Emily, and I, along with several American friends living in London who had also never tackled a turkey, successfully pulled off a full Thanksgiving dinner this week – complete with a fat, perfectly roasted, succulent turkey. I feel as though I might have passed another developmental milestone in my prolonged journey to adulthood.

Thanksgiving in London is quite different than what most Americans experience. It is colored by a sense of nostalgia and separation from family and friends back home. But it can also offer a special sense of intimacy as expatriates gather together as a “family away from home” to celebrate the holiday.

In the morning, Emily and I went to the service at St. Paul’s Cathedral that has become something of a tradition for the American community in London. The soaring choral music, magnificent arches and sublime artwork conspire to make one feel both small and awed. I felt grateful to be lucky to worship in such an inspiring space. It is unique to hear American voices from the pulpit in a building that is so prominent in the British consciousness.

During the afternoon and early evening, people slowly gathered to our house as they got off work. Several remarked at how strange it was to work on what felt like it ought to be a holiday – to navigate rush hour in the Tube, with people oblivious to the importance of this day for Americans.

We all chipped in to make what was one of the most abundant and delicious Thanksgiving meals I have ever had, complete with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, bread rolls, pumpkin pie, cake, and, yes, plenty of turkey.

The meal was made sweeter by the uniqueness of the gathering – a bunch of Americans in London with a couple other nationalities (British, Chinese) scattered into the mix. Most of us far from home. It became a celebration of and thanksgiving for the way one can create community and family no matter where you go in the world.

Occasionally, Thanksgiving can sometimes have a nationalistic bent to it that, as someone who is half English, half American, can feel slightly exclusive and unwelcoming. But this multinational, multicultural Thanksgiving resonated the more universal appeal of the holiday – pausing for a moment to offer thanks for the great bounty and beauty of the earth and its people. It was a wonderful opportunity to marvel and revel in the grace of family, friends and all the human community.