Thursday, November 23, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving.

(from the future)

By the time you read this, it will be Friday where I am. Thanksgiving will have come and gone, and Mary and I will be on our way to the Bay of Islands for a weekend trip.

So I am post-scripting this to yesterday (Thursday), when Mary and I slaved away over a hot stove to make a Thanksgiving feast for the New Zealand record books.

Now, since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in New Zealand (duh for all of you who asked...), we had a bit of a tough time finding the ingredients we needed.

That, my friends, is why it is handy that we have become queens of improvisation. Sometimes, as you'll learn here, you've just gotta make due...

1. First of all, no yams. Mary bought Kumera (a local white sweet potato, though while delicious, isn't tradition on Thanksgiving) instead. I said, 'no yams, no thanks,' and made mashed potatoes instead.

2. We luckily found American-style cranberry sauce. (Labeled: Made in Australia). We added oranges and it tasted almost as good as Marvel's dish. Almost.

3. Evidently, there are very few to no turkey farms in New Zealand, and only during this time (probably for the dumb foreigners) have we finally seen a frozen one at the market. But they're up to $45 for a small/medium-sized one.
Not that Mary nor I know how to cook a turkey if we did buy one. So, instead, we had (stifle your laughter, please) deli turkey sandwiches. Which wasn't actually too much less expensive. Just heaps easier. And no one seemed to mind.

4. No canned pumpkin sauce here ('Why would you want a canned pumpkin?' they say). Instead, Mary bought a REAL pumpkin and cooked and pureed it for the pie (very Betty Crocker, huh?). Then, I added the spices, eggs, and milk, and mixed it all up. So the pie was fresh as fresh. In fact, it was truly, downright incredible, and the highlight of the meal. As good as Jean's (luckily for us).

Also on our menu: homemade applesauce (again, Mary, who will make someone a lucky husband someday), peas, boughten rolls, gravy (from a jar, as no turkey juice = no gravy), and stuffing.

We invited my flat mates and my new Iowan friend, and we had a nicer than nice time drinking wine and explaining the story of Thanksgiving. It was a real treat for them to be treated and a real treat for us to share our traditions.

But, although the meal was fabulously prepared and shared with great friends old and new, Mary and I both understand that the meal isn't about what you're eating.

Having said that... I am incredibly grateful to be having the opportunity to create new lifelong memories with new lifelong friends. I am seeing and doing amazing things, and I have so much to look forward to. I am in a very good place surrounded by very good people (well, mostly, as Julia wasn't actually invited to the feast...).

That, though, doesn't make it any easier to be away from home for the holidays.

So this Thanksgiving Day, please take a minute to be incredibly thankful for all that you have and all that you hold near and dear. Be thankful for your experiences, your friends, your family, and your health. Look forward to new life, and be grateful for old loves.

Please take every opportunity to be thankful for where you are and who you are with.

Then, enjoy the parade. Enjoy the football. Enjoy the company of those you love. Enjoy the carrot and mayonnaise salad (any chance of getting some of that sent here, Jean?).

And hug someone extra today.

From halfway across the world, have a happy, happy Thanksgiving.

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