Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Day in the 'Du (or Happy Birthgiving to Me!)

Yesterday just cracked me up. I love Thanksgiving. The ultimate in egalitarian holidays. Thanksgiving in expat communities is actually really fun because the normal "we are all in this together" feeling is just heightened. And being that it is usually only Americans in attendance, there is no cultural translation needed. We get to rest.

We usually host but this year we couldn't get our act together to invite people over early enough so we were guests instead. We went over to friends/colleagues down the street and gathered with our motley crew of fifteen or so. Everyone brought their Thanksgiving favorites.

You can't buy mini marshmallows in KTM but they do sell some nasty multicolored version. And yams here are white fleshed. (I did have an American friend who admitted to using food coloring one year just for nostalgia's sake - grin.) So you know that famous dish on many American Thanksgiving tables - the Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow topping? We had it alright. Turkey? Fear not - we all order outrageously expensive frozen imported turkeys. Worth every penny. Cranberry Sauce? Well, you can't buy it locally but I had some whole cranberries in the freezer from last year (when I unknowingly ordered $70 worth - don't ask) and someone had the canned jellied variety (sorry to devotees but .... yucko). Hmm, let's see all the other usual suspects were on the table - green beans, mashed spuds, etc. etc. Dessert (my favorite food group) - Apple Pie, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie - yada yada yada.

The guests? The head chef was a visiting friend of the host's who is a professional chef on tugboats in Alaska. How do people know these jobs exist? Before that she was a personal chef on private yachts in the Caribbean. All I can say is some folks get the gigs! Two women arrived mid meal from the airport (also friends of the hosts). They had just flown in from Bhutan where they were attending a conference on Gross National Happiness (ahem). The rest of us were just the usual collection of USG and Aid/Development workers. The whole scene just made me smile.

Oh ... and I turned 29 again. It was a great day.


Jennifer said...

Happy Birthday, Laurel!

Simple Answer said...

Happy Birthday!

What a fun day! (and I bought 5 bags of chocolate chips for $50 - but can't get cranberries. wanna swap?)

Eudea-Mamia said...

Happy, happy belated birthday!!

29 x 2 is a VERY good year.

Jessica said...

Hi, I'm Jessica -- I just found your blog on I'm glad you had a great Thanksgiving, the dinner sounds amazing! I'm also an expat mom, but living in Beijing. I'll definitely be checking back here from now on! Stop by my blog sometime if you'd like to see how we do it on this side of the Himalayas. :)

Elizabeth Foss said...

Happy Birthday! I've been writing an email in my head to you for about ten weeks now (ever since you surprised me in the combox of my blog), but I can't find your email address and now, I'm writing Christmas cards and can't find your Dulles USA address either. Some things never change--I still can't find anything:-). Anyhoo, you write to me please and maybe we can properly catch up. I must say, when I read your comment and realized it was you, it brought tears to my eyes--it was SO nice to hear from you! Love, Ebeth