thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday EVER. i looooove thanksgiving, because it's so simple: just families getting together all across america to share a meal, throw a football around, and spend 4 days getting fat and relaxing. there's nothing commercial about thanksgiving at all, and i love love love that.
last year was our first thanksgiving here, and i was so miserable that i made adam take me to ghent that weekend. no way was i going to sit around in our big, empty, lonely house, with no pots or pans to make anything (let alone a turkey or mashed potatoes), no measuring cups, not even a telephone to call home. we didn't even have a BED. but i figured that if i could go to ghent, get out of town for a couple of days, i might just forget that i live here, and could pretend that i just am visiting europe. it was a really nice weekend and we did go out to dinner that night and i had apple pie at the end of the meal to celebrate thanksgiving. see this blog entry to read about our fun weekend in ghent last year.
but THIS year is waaaaay different. i was actually looking forward to spending a long weekend at home, just me and adam, eating and reading and sitting by the fire and feeling the baby kick. last year at this time, i never would have imagined this shift in attitude. seriously.
on thanksgiving day, adam and i went over to our friend, stephanie's, apartment. stephanie is originally from seattle and we met accidentally last year when she rang my doorbell to ask me if the car parked in front of her garage door was mine. (it was not, as we don't have a car out here.) she started yammering at me in dutch, and at that time i didn't know enough to even decipher 10% of what she was saying, so i just asked her straight up if she spoke english, and she spoke it so well that i knew almost immediately that she was an american. she is married to a dutch man named kees (pronounced like "case") and they have a young daughter, kirsten. kees' parents are actually our back neighbors, but i have never met them because i can't figure out how to find their door. anyway, stephanie and kees invited us over to dinner, and we happily accepted, and we ate with the three of them and kees' sister and brother-in-law. it was a really lovely dinner, with the traditional fixins of turkey, stuffing (one with chestnuts, one with mushrooms!), and mashed potatoes with chestnuts creamed into them (sooo good!). oh, and corn on the cob too, which is a real treat. i brought cornbread and cranberries, which kirsten seemed to like the most. (adam said maybe it was because for her it was like eating paint with those bright colors that she could smear around her plate.) after dinner we all had apple pie, and adam and i left around 9:30 to call our parents, who were all just now sitting down to dinner.
because adam had to work on thanksgiving day, we celebrated "second thanksgiving" here on friday. (hey, if the dutch get "second christmas" and "second easter," then we get to have "second thanksgiving!") it was soooo lovely and sweet. we slept in and had a simple breakfast, and then while adam did some "work from home," i got our snack plates ready: cheese and crackers, fresh veggies, olives, and chips and salsa. i finished up a magazine, hung out, just relaxed. soooo nice. here's a picture of adam watching the packers beat up on the lions, while he breasks up the bread slices so we can make homemade stuffing.
we got dinner started around 12:30, starting with the turkey that we ordered at the market. it was a 2.7-kilo bird (just shy of 6 lbs) that cost us about 15 euros (almost 25 dollars i think), so it seemed REALLY expensive, but we only do it once or maybe twice a year, so i think it's really worth it. AND we didn't get to do thanksgiving last year, so we were overdue. then the rest of the day was mostly spent relaxing and watching football on our awesome slingbox. (the slingbox is this super rad device that bob and rae picked up this summer after we convinced them that we absolutely would die out here if we had to go another season without football. it hooks up to the back of their tv, then connects to the internet, and then we can log onto their slingbox with our computer and watch what's on tv. and thanks to their tivo, we can record games and then watch them later. sweet. so we got football AND turkey this thanksgiving! just like back home! thanks, rae and bob!)
we ate around 4:30 and had all the traditional dishes: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, green beans, yams, rolls, and gravy. and because i can't make a pie crust to save my life, we had apple crisp instead. and we had so many leftovers that we could barely fit it all into our ittybittystupideurofridge.
happy thanksgiving, everyone! we are so grateful for you, and for this amazing technology that keeps us connected across the sea! we hope your turkey day was as lovely and simple and quiet and loving as ours was!