Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Spain

So this year I was lucky enough to celebrate Thanksgiving twice.  One Spanish style and one the old fashioned American way.  Needless to say I definitely had a favorite dinner, but was appreciative of them both.  :)  

On Thursday, the actual date of Thanksgiving, our study abroad program threw us a very nice Thanksgiving Day dinner.  It was a dressy affair held in the banquet room of Hotel Bécquer.  It looked like a reception dinner for a wedding!  Minus the dance floor of course.  :)  We sat down at our table and waited for our food.  We were served a large helping of turkey, mashed potatoes, and some veggies as well.  And to drink we had coke, water, and even some wine!  I was very impressed by the amount of food that was there and there was no limit to how much food you could have!  They definitely nailed that aspect of Thanksgiving.  The food on the other hand was decent, but just not the same as a home cooked meal.  The turkey was…turkey, and the veggies just weren’t as buttery.  Not that I didn’t like the food, oh no I DEFINITELY ate it all, but I miss the huge golden turkey on the table with the slight crisp as you cut into the skin.  My mom’s turkey is always sooo buttery and juicy and will melt in your mouth the second you take your first bite.  AND STUFFING…oh I miss the stuffing with turkey.  My great grandpa’s stuffing is to DIE for.  Man I can almost smell it as I sit here writing this.  To be honest I can’t even really remember what’s in it..I just know that it’s amazing.  SOOOOOOOOOO good.  I can’t wait to eat 5 pounds of that when I get home.  :)  Back to the dinner…after we finished with the dinner it was on to dessert.  I was definitely hoping for some pumpkin, apple, cherry, or pecan pie…any of those would have sufficed.  But no.  We got some lemony cream thing…ok so I know for you Spanish people this isn’t your holiday or anything, but LEMON?!  In what American movie have you seen a lemon tart thing being served as a dessert!?  FAIL.  I was a bit disappointed…the dinner was very very close, but the dessert was off by a mile.  I didn’t really like it that much, but they tried.  I suppose you can’t expect 100% American when you’re 6,000 miles away.  Overall it was really fun and I’m really glad I got to spend my Thanksgiving with some friends and some good non typical Spanish food.  :)

Now on to Friday.  :)  Jesse has some friends from church who happen to be American and wanted to share Thanksgiving with their Spanish friends.  Show them how good American food can be.  We went over to their apartment late afternoon to start making an apple pie.  Although we decided to celebrate an American holiday we still had to keep the Spanish dinner time.  No one was gonna show up until 9 or so.  9:00 P.M. in America on Thanksgiving, most people would be in a sleep coma due to all the food they had just consumed.  But no not here in Spain.  It was kinda neat to eat a late Thanksgiving dinner, something I bet not too many Americans get the chance to experience.  :)  

When the late hours finally rolled around my stomach could no longer handle all the wonderful smells without growling every 2 minutes, we finally began to eat.  There was a long row of food lining the table and the buffet table.  We had enough food for 20 people.  Good thing too!  Because that about how many people showed up to this dinner!  Mostly Spanish people, but there were also some other European countries in attendance as well.  It was beautiful.  At the head of the table were the mashed potatoes, gravy, soda drinks, and…chicken?  Apparently turkey is very expensive in Spain..(no wonder I haven’t seen it around very much.  Lol)  Well I suppose chicken is the next closest thing to turkey in the bird family.  As we move down the line we had two HUGE bowls of homemade mac and cheese.  :D :D :D :D :D :D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I LOVE MAC AND CHEESE!!!!!  I almost cried when I saw that.  I haven’t had mac and cheese in sooo long either!!  Mac and cheese is my ultimate comfort food.  It wasn’t Kraft mac and cheese, obviously, but it was still mouthwatering none the less.  Then next to that were the sweet potatoes.  OMG…SWEET POTATOES.  My other favorite Thanksgiving dish along with stuffing.  I definitely ate most of that dish.  Oops.  They weren’t the caramelized version my mom makes with the marshmallows on top, but this was still pretty good!  They were mashed I guess you would say, with pecans on top.  Amazing.  Next came the green bean casserole.  Yum..And finally my favorite part..Dessert.  :)  There was the apple pie that Jesse and I made, pecan pie, and peanut butter cookies.  I had at least 2 helpings of every one of those dishes.  The pies were heaven to my taste buds.  How I’ve longed for a proper dessert ever since I got here.  They just don’t know how to do sugary, unhealthy desserts here.  They have ice cream and that’s about it.  

This dinner was definitely my favorite one out here in Spain.  Even though there was STILL no stuffing or pumpkin pie, it was waaay better than the one on Thursday.  Maybe it was just because American people cooked it or because I helped in making something this time.  It was such a fun party.  Made me feel closer to home than I’ve felt in a while.  I guess I never really knew the definition of “American” food until now.  It’s not hot dogs and hamburgers, it’s Thanksgiving.  A truly all American meal.

On a side note away from the dinners that I had while in Spain, I realized a lot on this holiday.  Being away from home this Thanksgiving definitely put things in perspective this year.  It’s the little things I’m thankful for, but I also learned to be thankful for all these wonderful experiences I get to have in this 4 month period.  

I’m thankful for how lucky of a person I am.  I truly live a charmed life.  So many people will never have the opportunity that I’ve had to live and breathe another culture.  Be it financial wise or due to other causes.  But by some luck of the draw I have been chosen by fate to have the life I have.      

I’m thankful for all the things that have happened to me out here.  Good or bad.  Either way they have impacted my life in some way shape or form, and now because of them I have a new perspective.  I’m not 100% different, no.  I’m still me, just with a better understanding of myself, my life and what I want the future to be. 

I’m thankful for all the wonderful friends I’ve made out here who have made this adventure even more special.  With them I have shared so many experiences and memories that will never be forgotten.  Hopefully we will all keep in touch over the years.  These people have touched my life and left their handprints on my heart.

And last but not least, I’m thankful for my family and friends who have been so supportive of me and encouraging me to keep going even when times are hard.  Without all the encouragement and support I probably would have quit this program and never finished what I started.  It takes a lot to leave everything you ever had and venture out into the unknown.  I know many people who have done that and I feel I can finally relate with them on a new level.  We no longer just share a friendship of interests, but now of similar experiences as well.  :)    

“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”-Clarence (It’s A Wonderful Life)     

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