The Thanksgiving Exodus

Word is Venice during Thanksgiving is a little bit like Venice during Burning Man. Photo by Millana Snow.

by Ana Fernatt

I hear Venice during Thanksgiving is a little bit like Venice during Burning Man. Empty. For better or worse, this quirky coastal city is inhabited by an abundance of non-native Venetians who jump at the chance of free groceries and heat at mom’s house in Nebraska. On the plus side, imagine how quick you’ll get your coffee this weekend! Bliss.

I imagine Venice during Thanksgiving to be like going to Disneyland on a rainy day. No wait for anything. Only the truly dedicated are still around. And when you see someone who also stuck around, you give each other a nod of acknowledgment. You two are part of the same club.

This Thanksgiving, I’m headed back to Chicago for the first time since I moved to the west coast.

When you read this, I’ll already be there. Right now, I’m sitting outside at Zinque, not wearing a coat, and thinking about what it will be like to revisit my former home. It feels a little bit like getting drinks with an ex. You want them to see how good you look and how well your life is going, but you’re a little scared that you’ll realize how much you miss them.  And, even more, there’s a very real possibility that I’ll run into a very real ex, a reality that hasn’t even been a tiny worry for the past seven months. Who am I now that I live in Venice? Will Chicago feel like putting on old pants after going on a diet? It’s so familiar and yet doesn’t fit at all.

I have plenty that I’m giving thanks for this year at my Aunt Carolyn’s table. I’m thankful that I made a move happen. I’m thankful that I met people quickly and have friends in California. I’m thankful for finding a house to live in where I feel myself learning and growing.  I’m grateful for always having enough. Even when my rent seems so expensive. Even when I’m very ready to pay off my student loans already. Even when sometimes I want more, I have to remember that I have always, always had enough. Always.

And, finally, I am so thankful for what we’re going to be doing together. Thank you for reading. Thank you for saying hi to me when you see me. Thank you for making me part of your day.

Ana Fernatt is a columnist, blogger, and leading podcast host. You can find Ana on Instagram and Twitter @AnaAndThings, in upcoming issues of Yo! Venice, and maneuvering the streets of Venice with her dog, Figaro.