The day started like any other Thanksgiving, with the call to prayer and the smell of burning garbage wafting in the air. We had been invited to two houses to celebrate. I had guessed correctly which cheese was the cream cheese at the supermarket and had made the pumpkin cheesecake the day before. But, there was no good lettuce to be had, so I made Curry Waldorf salad instead of a green salad. Then I whipped up some mashed potatoes. Now I would normally add horseradish to them, but didn't have any. That's when I found the wasabi paste in the cupboard. And I couldn't stop myself. Then I had just enough time left to make my belly dance class. Is there a more appropriate day to jiggle one's belly? I think not.
We arrive at Jenny's house. Now Jenny is my extrovert, fun-loving, organized, crafting, competitive friend. In other words, she and I are total opposites. As evidenced by the fact that she made place cards for everyone, which she hand stamped for the Thanksgiving table. Never would you ever get that in my house. Which is one of the many reasons I love Jenny. Another one? Well, when Craig told Jenny he had 2 Peace Corps Volunteers from Togo and Liberia who had no place to spend Thanksgiving, she rearranged her whole seating chart and invited them. And I think it goes without saying that she hand stamped some more place cards, cause she's anal like that. And I totally mean that lovingly.
Here is Jenny and Thanksgiving morning to do list. (As if she needed the list and hadn't rehearsed and memorized it or anything...)
Let me tell you, if you want to truly feel grateful on Thanksgiving have some Peace Corps Volunteers over. No one comes to Thanksgiving dinner more thankful for just the fact that you have toilet paper in the bathroom. Everything else is bonus and might make them cry. They also come with great stories that make you want to retch, which is great on Thanksgiving because now you have room to consume that 3rd plate you were considering.
This is the point in the post when I confess I'm a member of the clean plate club and a wino. Please note the picture also depicts Mark's post mocking someone face and Faith (who's face was blurred for anonymity) berating someone for not watching the double rainbow video on youtube. And Kevin over in the corner? Well, he was propped up like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's after injuring his back playing in the Turkey Bowl that morning.
It's almost time to head to Sara's house. The thing that both Thanksgiving tables will share is the cranberry sauce. See, you can't get cranberries here in Morocco. So, someone at the Embassy drove to Spain to buy cranberries to make the biggest batch of his grandma's recipe to share with anyone who wanted it. And it was amazing. And not like Peace Corps I-just-haven't-had-it-or-toilet-paper-in-2-years amazing. No, the you could can it and sell it kind of amazing. Then it would come out in one gelatinous glob with those familiar can ridges, just the way a lot of Americans like it. Instead, it was so fresh it needed refrigeration.
We arrived at Sara's house to the sound of about 20 kids under the age of 7. (Actually it was the sound of about 100 kids about age 13, coming from about 20 kids under the age of 7.) The turkey had just been pulled out of the oven, tanned to perfection. Not that fake spray tan either with the thermometer that pops out. Her house was filled with it's aroma and the largest group of non-Americans I'd ever seen at Thanksgiving. They were from Jordan, France, Austria, Morocco, England and Italy. The Italians even came bearing tiramisu. You know, like the original thanksgiving, but way better. Sara made sure of that with her delicious homemade, wholewheat, organic spread she made by herself.
So during all the meeting people and eating, I forgot to take pictures. So I don't have pictures of all the sumptuous food and all the beautiful people.
But, the boys found my camera.
Obviously I wouldn't have taken this picture.
Or this one.
But they did a great job of capturing our beautiful host Sara.
And their angsty dad.
And funky-cool Alma.
And Tarik's casual-elegance.
And the other Sara's sweetness.
Then of course the sweetness that is all over Liam's face...
I'm thankful for all it (oh, and toilet paper too)!