As an ex-pat, I usually find Thanksgiving sneaking up on me with no fanfare and little notice. This year, I knew the holiday was coming, not because of any grand plans but because we were trying to schedule meetings with the office in Houston and were forced to work around the holiday.
So the holiday didn’t come as such a surprise, and when my friend Kathryn strong-armed me into taking a day off to help her prepare a proper Thanksgiving dinner, I willingly acquiesced. Besides, Kathryn is a pretty good cook, and somehow I’ve made it through my entire “adult” life without having ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner.
How did that happen? In retrospect, the first few years on my own the idea of prepping a large dinner wasn’t really a high priority. I do remember one Thanksgiving spent in n Austin, when our project at work was under pressure, and anyone who didn’t already have plans to leave town was tasked with working over the holiday. That year, I spent Thanksgiving Day at my desk, nursing a terrible cold! And not long after we moved to Beijing and began life as ex-pats.
While it’s traditionally an American holiday (especially since the Canadians all celebrate a month early), in the ex-pat community, Thanksgiving tends to take on a very international flavor. In Beijing, we managed to get all the ex-pats at work together for a Saturday Thanksgiving (no Thanksgiving Thursday/Black Friday holidays in the international community) that included Brits, Indians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Turks, and even a few actual Americans. Here in Norway, the ex-pat community is better integrated, so Thanksgiving tends to pass under the radar even more.
And so, fate and coincidence have intervened to keep me from ever needing to know how to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Until now.
Kathryn convinced me to take the day off with her, and together we made a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It was mostly Kathryn cooking, and me hanging out, drinking wine, and assisting with a few hard-to-screw-up tasks like tearing up bread for stuffing and mixing up green bean casserole.
Lucas should be leaving work soon, and he and Dee will come to join us. Two pies are baked, the turkey is in the oven, and the rest is all lined up to finish before dinner. The only thing that would make dinner better is if we didn’t have to go back to work tomorrow. Some people get up early to hit the Black Friday sales, but we have to drag ourselves away from the turkey coma to show up at the office.