This year, I celebrated Thanksgiving twice. Thanks to the miracle of care packages and an awesome sister, that meant cranberry sauce and two pumpkin pies - without which Thanksgiving is just a big meal, not a holiday treat. So much baking! So much cleaning! So much cooking! So much stress! It almost felt just like home.
My new place is considerably smaller than my first, so it was a fun game of furniture jigsaw to fit seating for eight people but we figured it out in the end. The kitchen, on the other hand, only fits one person comfortably. We were trying to squeeze in three and it was a mess. But a fun one. I was teaching Jola and Alba how to make chocolate chip cookies and since I'm a good ten inches taller than both of them and they both had the attention spans of chipmunks that day, it was like teaching small children - emphasized by the fact that they both wandered out of the kitchen from boredom at various times. Moza was complaining in the living room about life, politics, and salty foods; Gesti was the long-suffering lone male in a house of females; Lena arrived late (she had to eat lunch first...because that makes so much sense).
So basically, it felt like a real family event!
I'm a monster. I'm slouching down in that first pic.
Better just to sit on the floor and not dwarf the rest of them.
Yes, this photo is super blurry, but that is such a perfect Lena face I just had to post it.
Alba and Jola, my two besties in the office.
On the following Saturday eight volunteers descended on Divjake for a holiday feast at Paulina's home. She lives in a second-floor flat, and she's close with the family that owns the house. The three grown kids joined us for dinner (unfortunately, their mom was in Greece and missed the party), and we upped the food production using both kitchens. The turkey was freshly dead. The ovens were working overtime. The food was belated - running out of gas and water in the middle of cooking certainly slows the process down.
But when it was all set out and we dug in, the food was incredible. I literally could not get enough of it all. SO. DELICIOUS.
Meg and I with our desserts - pumpkin pie and apple pie cookies.
Jon and I had matching aprons. We're basically twins.
Jon with our darling hostess, Paulina!
What, you guys don't remember the California Raisins Christmas special?
Carving the turkey!
Good food, good friends, good fun. We all missed our families and homes, but the opportunity to celebrate this most American of holidays together was a blessing, and one that I don't take lightly. (I mean, PCVs in Mongolia have to be flown in and out of their sites. I just hop in a sketchy van that I caught on the side of the road.)
It was a truly marvelous Thanksgiving.
P.S. I took a six-hour nap on Sunday. Oops.