Last year we nervously hunted for traditional ingredients to pull off our first thanksgiving in Germany. I think we found them all, but we didn’t have the ability to host anyone for a few reasons, mainly a sick child and a lack of planning. The theme of my first year in Berlin was: Now I know how to be better prepared for next year. And it was the same for every holiday or special event of our first 12 months here.
Now we are in our second year and I know what is coming, I also know the work that goes into pulling it off. What I forgot to factor in was that we would still be in full time language, with our children in school, along with the basics of life and ministry. We did better this year than last and next year will probably look even better. Perhaps this year’s saying is: it looks better than last year, but next year will be even smoother. Or maybe that is just how we all approach life, next time I’ll get it.
This year when we started talking about Thanksgiving we began to realize just how curious people here are about it. What do we do? What do we eat? Are there traditions outside of the food? Are there traditional Thanksgiving gifts? The list of people interested in joining us for dinner was larger than our tiny oven could handle. I set the number of people I could logically cook for and fit at my dining room table, if I could have pulled of Thanksgiving for 40 people I have no doubt we would have had enough interest to fill the places.
On Thanksgiving our kids were in school, Denny and I skipped class to pull it all together, and our guests were sitting at work oblivious to the scurry and scent that is filling my home through the day. Year number two and we pulled off another delicious meal, like everyone else who celebrated around the world I have not doubt. During the day I stopped to record things I was thankful for so I will share those with you.
- I am thankful that we are able to buy and create our traditional Thanksgiving meal, other than the Minnesota traditional green jello. We maybe could create this, but since only 1/5 of us actually eat it I won’t put in the effort to find it or create it. Sorry, 20% of my family who feel the loss of this dish.
- I am thankful that my husband is willing to go to the grocery store and lug home all the ingredients to create this amazing meal on his back or in his arms. And who graciously peeled all the potatoes for the dinner. I am blessed.
- I am also thankful we can do our grocery shopping the night before, or the day of Thanksgiving Day without worrying that a key ingredient will be sold out. See, there are perks to being abroad during certain holidays.
- I am thankful that my children realize that although my pumpkin pie is ugly this year, it will taste amazing. My pie pan is apparently a 10 inch therefore leaving me a significant amount of crust about where the pumpkin deliciousness stops…. I guess we’ll fill it with whipped cream.
- I am thankful that we have a full and functional kitchen! That is something that I never have thought before moving abroad. Living without one for a while opened my eyes to the difficulty of hosting without that necessity. I am also thankful that this year we have a larger kitchen table, thanks to the neighbors who thought of us this summer.
- I am thankful that we live in an age where we can have contact with family on the other side of the world. I got to text with my dad, the kids talked with their uncle and aunt in MN, Denny with his family, and we got to talk to my mom the day after. The holiday would have been sadder had we missed this family connection.
So another Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I hope that the gratitude of the past week flows ahead during the holiday season that is upon us. We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend as well!