Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Second Thanksgiving as an Expat

I should probably explain my first Thanksgiving as an expat, or rather, as a wayward study-abroad student at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, which I affectionately term my "European Home". I was 20 and we were in Kulikundis, the handicapped dorm at Sussex where two of my friends, Alex and Middleton, lived for that semester. Kulikundis, referred to by us as "Kuli," sort of looked like a fish-bowl in that the living room walls were made up entirely of windows on two sides. It was fitting that night, for all of campus to be able to look in at our strange American holiday. We cooked up quite a spread, including a Tofurky that I managed to procure from the only Whole Foods outside of America for £22 (about $44 at the time). At that price, I was quite happy I got entirely reimbursed for it (phew) by Butler--the program I was studying abroad through. All our non-American friends in attendance were ready to partake in the gluttony...and gluttony we delivered!

Take two and I'm in Prague. I had to work until 5:30pm on Thanksgiving day, so I was not sure if I even felt like doing anything for the holiday. In fact, up until Thanksgiving, I'd somewhat committed myself to the life of a sloth, sitting bundled up on the couch all day watching TV on the internet except for when I had to go to work or make an attempt at lesson planning. There were a lot of plans out there for the day, but I tend to get overwhelmed on holidays that have too many options for things to do. This is why I usually throw my own parties for New Years and Halloween. Two days before, my flatmate (who is also vegan) and I decided to hold a vegan Thanksgiving. A plan is born!

I rushed home from my last classes at my students' flat that involved taking a bus from their flat to Letňany, the metro to I.P. Pavlova, finally followed by the tram to my flat. Whew. I not-so-quickly threw together a nice veggie pot pie with fried chickpea cutlet pieces inside and an apple crisp with local apples from the Czech Republic. Here is our spread:

It included veggie pot pie, mashed potatoes with chives, mushroom gravy, boxed stuffing Andrea somehow procured from Tesco months back, cranberry sauce Jess ingeniously concocted from dried cranberries (brusinky), fresh kale from Country Life(which is apparently quite the rare vegetable here!) sauteed with mushrooms, garlic and chick peas, black bean dip and tortilla chips, a nice salad with dressing, apple crisp (not pictured) and of course, wine. Here's our little Thanksgiving family for that night:

From the left is Kyle, Jess, Andrea and Marit. We had a grand 'ol time and successfully talked about poop for roughly 10 minutes, which yielded something resembling this progression of photos:

This one is not so accurate as my face is normally plastered with some sort of manic smile whenever the topic of poop comes up.

Of course, the night ended with us feeling so full we thought we might die. Once the food was done we entered the hat portion of the evening. This is us as two pandas and some bikers, which you can't really see, but oh well:

A very successful Thanksgiving overall! I've been in a pretty great mood since then. Large amounts of delicious leftovers and friends will do that to a girl.

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