European Thanksgiving

Christmas in Europe has a different rhythm than American Christmas.  Traditions are similar, but not the same, and some pieces haven't got a counterpart.  There is definitely still an advent, but in Europe, there is no Thanksgiving to start the ball rolling.  Last year, I really missed the spirit of Thanksgiving, but God, in His goodness, gave me opportunity for not one, but three Thanksgiving celebrations.

The first was over a weekend and organized by Fishnet--a local language school--and was located at a beautiful conference centre.  A Thanksgiving dinner was shared with friends and new acquaintances.  I relaxed overnight in a comfortable room tucked away in the mountains, and joined two families the next day for a wintry mountain trip.

 The second Thanksgiving celebration was on Thanksgiving Day.  I spent the day teaching literature and art to elementary and middle schoolers and then went across town to a Baptist Church.  I'd been contacted by the leader of an English club there to be a visitor/speaker at their Thanksgiving celebration.  The meal was delicious, as was the "pumpkin pie" (it had hazelnuts and dried peaches added to it).  Afterwards another man and I shared about the Thanksgiving holiday and our experiences of it.

The final Thanksgiving celebration was with some colleagues and a few new acquaintances.  It was this celebration that felt the most homey and traditional.  I brought my latticed apple pie to the kitchen and soon joined the ranks cutting potatoes and setting them to boil.  Occasionally I lent a hand as the turkey was basted, and, as others arrived, they joined us in the kitchen, talking comfortably and laughing at mishaps until the meal was ready.  As the turkey was carved by the man of the house, we realized that he'd forgotten the stuffing, but food was plentiful and the stuffing was quickly forgotten in the midst of camaraderie and the country music.


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