i know, i'm totally behind.
so, here we go.
thanksgiving was really wonderful this year. i was thinking about how past thanksgivings here have really reflected the types of years and experiences we have had. for example, our first thanksgiving here was spent in the beautiful city of ghent, belgium. thanksgiving, as many of you know, is my FAVORITE holiday (i love it WAY more than christmas), and that year we were "stuck" here without our families. we didn't have any of our stuff from america here yet (it was still stuck in the port at rotterdam because of some strike -- so our bed, my measuring cups, and all our warm clothes still had not arrived from our move); we didn't speak the language; we didn't have any friends; and it was cold and DARK like alllll the time. so i was all, "this place sucks, get me out of here, let's go to belgium." cuz i thought that if we were travelling, then i'd forget that i actually LIVED here, and could pretend i was just on holiday and then i'd forget it was thanksgiving.
that was our first year.
our second year was much better. we had been invited to a friend's house (an american woman whose mother-in-law is our back neighbor), so we ate dinner there, with friends, teaching her dutch family about our american traditions, and enjoying each others company. then the next day, adam and i made another thanksgiving dinner, just the two of us, and we were fat and happy, anticipating the birth of our child whom we thought SURELY was going to be a boy. (and that he'd arrive early. HA!) it was simple and quiet, and cozy. just like that second year here. settling in and being together, just the two of us.
this third year has been very different from years past, and so far it's been my favorite. we were fortunate enough to be able to host three people and make a huge feast for all of us to share. adam's best friend from forever ago (in fact, i think they were in the bunny class together) flew out here to see his boyfriend over thanksgiving break. dan (adam's friend) is living in NYC, but spent several years in london. his australian boyfriend, andy, still lives in london, and they both came out to spend just a few short days with us. (incidentally, it was andy's first thanksgiving ever, so he and gracie had something in common!) we also hosted our mutual friend, aimee. aimee is a canadian (a fact she proudly mentions any chance she gets) and is a phd student in adam's department. she's UBER cool, and one of gracie's best friends, and since she's new out here and didn't get to really celebrate her own canadian thanksgiving (which is in october), we invited her to spend thanksgiving dinner with us. and she accepted. cuz we're like best buds out here. sweet.
i ordered a turkey from the poultry vendor at the market (a nice, big 6-lb bird this year! and dude, it was like TWENTY EUROS! ouch!), and made the usual sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, rolls, gravy, cranberries, and apple crisp (because i cannot make a pie crust to save my life). aimee made mashed potatoes. dan and andy picked up a gorgeous bottle of real french champagne, which we ate with oliebollen and the apple crisp, and we all chipped in with doing the dishes afterwards.
dan and andy had to leave the next morning, which totally sucked, but we all were appreciative of the time that they were able to spend with us. and since dan is moving to london sometime this month, we hope we'll get another chance to see him again before we move stateside.
we loved being able to host all these expats, to introduce a foreigner to an american tradition, and to open our home to friends from around the world. we feel very fortunate that our home is large enough and our bank account deep enough that we are able to provide food and comfort to our friends when they pay us a visit. i am thankful for our friends and family, and for the opportunity to share our blessings with the people that we love!
happy (very very belated) thanksgiving!!!