I have celebrated Thanksgiving in various places and with different groups of people who are important to me, but this was the first year I was not in the United States. That means that while I have always contributed to the Thanksgiving feast, it has always been done pot-luck style. That was not the case this year, as we knew that as the only Americans we know here, if we didn’t prepare the feast ourselves, there would be no traditional foods to be had. Therefore Hannah, Rachel and I did all the shopping over the couple of days leading up to Thanksgiving and stayed home from work Thanksgiving Day to prepare the feast. Our only regret was that we didn’t have a bigger kitchen/house to host people in, as our list of who we wanted to invite was significantly larger than the list of people we actually did get to invite.
As we prepared the large feast that included TWO turkeys (who were we kidding? We knew these folks could EAT!), excitement built. The baking of desserts was done the night before and were taunting us from the cupboard. As the preparations began in early hours of the morning, we had all day to talk about our own traditions and how things were the same or different from back home. We laughed and shared stories of memories from years past. We took time to share things we are thankful for and remembered the many ways we are fortunate.
We received our guests with joy and excitement into our aroma-filled house. While initially unsure how they would feel about these foods that were all almost all new to them, we were easily convinced they weren’t exaggerating their approval as they moved in for third and forth servings. By then, we had also moved into entertainment by some of the girls (through singing and dancing)- all of this before they slipped into food comas, sprawling out in the living room before we even got to dessert (don’t worry, we woke them for it!). Needless to say, they ate their fill and then some, and we hardly had any left!
Only days after we finally got some furniture in our house, it was great to fill our house with guests that brought such energy, joy, life and love. We spoke all week of things we are thankful for, and as the evening came to a close, I realized the depth of gratitude I really do have especially for the friends and family (however defined) I have in my life. I am also grateful this year to have been able to share this great tradition (and traditional food!) with others for the first time. It was indeed a great Thanksgiving, and I went to bed counting my blessings for an incredible life and for a God that is always giving us new life in ways great and small.
Here we are mid-meal... I was teaching them how to stretch their stomachs to make room for another course. :)
Front Row: Lynn, Hannah, Clifford, Rachel