chilling feet

chilling feet

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Is Thanksgiving Still On Thursday??

(our first night of wonderful eating at Simon's house)
NO ONE BELIEVED ME, when I told them how much food Sarah was going to eat.  "She looks tiny and you think I'm joking but when she goes back for thirds or fourths and then does the same for dessert, you will see the truth."

This was the conversation as we gathered with American doctors and their families living in New Zealand.  We felt right at home as for the second night in a row we sat down to fill ourselves with delicious food, "the point," as Neil explained to Regan a local police officer, "is to eat until it hurts and then eat some more."  And while it was not our family, which of course we missed dearly, the next best thing has got to be these folks!

Over the course of the two nights we ate and conversed with people from everywhere.  The stories of how we all made it to a table eating turkey in Invercargill, NZ were quite amazing.  Both dinners had a few locals mixed into the group, which was especially fun because they still tried to cook traditional American Thanksgiving food.  Our favorite was the square pumpkin pie for lack of a proper pie dish. Yes, we made fun of Shona for this, especially since we had the only other "rival dessert," as she saw it (an apple tart which tasted more like apple cheesecake).
(it was Simon's first ever attempt at cooking a turkey and
it came out great - we helped a little near the end with
some advice and tips)

Highlights of conversation:  How Nick from NZ and Samantha from Hawaii met.  When Neil, who has worked literally almost everywhere from Alaska to Bhutan to anywhere in between, told of how when he and his wife moved to the middle of nowhere in Colorado and they slowly got "way too involved" with guns and when they realized they had gone too far. And then Rick adding in his aversion to guns. And then of course I told a story about my love relationship with "Betty," which is what I call my 9mm back home.  A cool talk with Sara (still said the same way as Sarah with an "h" - they say them different here usually based on if there is an "h" or lack thereof) about her uncle in the ministry. And I would be remiss to leave out the talk of Lord of the Rings and asking people about where they have visited.  And these are only from my conversations.  Many times Sarah was in another part of a house chatting it up in what I am sure were equally intriguing discussions.

Ok.  So when I was FaceTiming (thank goodness for how Apple products can do this all for free) back home we became immersed in a different type of conversation.  What day should people in other
(the square pumpkin pie! It really was tasty)
countries celebrate Thanksgiving?  I asked this of my family because for the first time I've recognized how truly American this holiday is of course.  I mean, I have no idea why people all over the world do not celebrate with us for surviving that first winter, but they do not.  I purposed, if maybe just for arguments sake, that we should celebrate it when it's the actual day in America, since not only is this when it is deemed to take place, but also this is when all of our family and friends will be celebrating.  I was met with quite a bit of resistance on this issue, which I thought was funny because this came from a group celebrating Thanksgiving dinner on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving Thursday so that they could celebrate with the "other" side of the family the next day.  Come on.

A few changes we noticed here from back home at this time of year:
1.  For some reason the store is not filled from top to bottom with pre-made pumpkin pies.  This was quite confusing and I wondered where they were.
2.  Though we were not making pumpkin pie we had a recipe that demanded puree of pumpkin.  Nope.  Not to be found anywhere in the entire store.  Upon talking to those who did make pumpkin pies (even the square one), they had to make them from scratch!  Awesome for us, hard for them.  There is no pumpkin pie ready in a can either!
3.  Some of our American friends had some nice twists on traditional dishes.  My favorite was Neil's mixture that looked like sweet potato casserole of some kind but was actually a spicy dish that goes well with currie.  It was fantastic.
4.  The weather.  As we are now fully engaged in the thralls of a nice Spring, our Thanksgiving day (if my family wins the argument) was around 19 degrees celsius (for those too lazy to google the difference that's around 66 degrees fahrenheit). I was wearing shorts! Celebrating Christmas and New Years in a warm area will be a new experience.  
5.  So mostly it was the total absence of pumpkin pies everywhere, but not seeing some sort of pilgrim/turkey decor in stores and around town was kind of sad.

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? I'm glad you asked. Amidst all of the memorable experiences I am having here in NZ, I am most thankful for having an adventurous wife, without whom I may have never seen this beautiful land and know any kiwis. She is beautiful, intelligent, funny, and everything I want in a woman, so naturally I am thankful for her in general and the fact that somehow I've strung her along this far, but this year I am most thankful for her adventurous spirit.

I'll end today's post with another poem from Madeleine L'Engle.  It's a short one and a favorite of mine:

The Birth of Love

To learn to love
is to be stripped of all love
until you are wholly without love
until you have gone
naked and afraid
into this cold dark place
where all love is taken from you
you will not know
that you are wholly within love.

Happy Thanksgiving from Down Under!!

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