This week I'm looking back on some of my expat Thanksgivings over the last few years. Thanksgiving 2010 was one of my all time FAVORITES!
We called our kitchen the "US Embassy" because it was always full of Americans!
In 2010 I was in Germany for my second study abroad. There was a big group of Americans at the university, and as Thanksgiving approached, we all started getting a little homesick at the thought of missing out on all the fun back home. Somehow we decided we would throw our own Thanksgiving, and all the American students were on the board with the plan.
The only problem? There were around 50 American students, along with 30+ international and German students we wanted to invite. And we lived in a dorm. But at least it had ovens?
Undeterred, we spent two whole days hitting up every single grocery store in our town, buying every sweet potato, cranberry, frozen turkey, and gravy mix packet we could find. Since there were 7 working ovens in our dorm building, we decided we'd make 7 turkeys.
Ambitious, I know!
On Thanksgiving day, we started early. We staked out our kitchens to make sure our turkies could roast in peace. Then we started slowly taking all the tables and chairs out of the other floors' kitchen to make one long table in the middle of the hallway. And we started peeling, chopping, sauteing, and stirring all of our Thanksgiving staples!
One of my friends had her parents visiting during Thanksgiving, and we all joked that it was nice to have a stand in "mom and dad" to help us out with everything. Even though it was a lot of work, we were all smiling and laughing through the whole thing.
That is-twenty minutes before we were supposed to meet everyone and the door of one of the ovens fell off completely...
This is when it helps to have quick thinking handy men! Three of our guys friends managed to get the door back on the oven, the turkey cooked, and soon...it was time to feast!
People finally started arriving, their own plates and utensils in hand!
My friend's dad led us in singing 'Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow", cut the turkey, and Thanksgiving was served!
We all crammed into the hallway to eat our meal, laughing, talking, and sharing. It was perfect. Someone joked this was the most "American" Thanksgiving they'd ever had, which led someone else to break into the national anthem-and suddenly all these people were singing the Star Spangled Banner, followed by lots of applause and cheering. It was pretty cool.
After dinner we helped to clean up, divvy up leftovers, and eat dessert and have a few drinks. Fun was had, hilarious videos of me and a friend attempting to explain the Thanksgiving story were filmed, and it went down as one of the most memorable Thanksgiving I've ever had.
What an awesome group of people. :)
If there's one thing I learned from all this, it's that you shouldn't sweat Thanksgiving. If you can cook 7 turkeys in a run down student dorm and still have an awesome time, it shows you got your priorities straight, right? ;)
Have you ever had a crazy Thanksgiving like this one?