30 November 2008

Thanksgiving in Paris

This was the second Thanksgiving that Linda and I have spent outside of the US (the first was two years ago, when we visited her father in Hungary). Now probably the main thing about Thanksgiving outside of the US which may come as a surprise to many of my countrymen, is well that it isn't the most celebrated of holidays ;-) Seriously, I recently did a little looking online - it seems that at best, less than one out of every five Americans even holds a passport for foreign travel, much less has traveled abroad. I think if there was one thing that would be most helpful in guiding the US towards better foreign policy and interaction with the world, it would be getting more Americans abroad. The best (and perhaps only) way to really begin to understand the way the rest of the world functions, lives, and sees things, is to actually go there (and there are so many places to go). Of course there is one caveat - you actually have to be there, staying at a resort or going on a cruise where you keep yourself segregated from the local population isn't really traveling - it's more like experiencing a live-slideshow with nice weather. Anyway, I'll now return to Thanksgiving.

This meant that Linda and I were absolutely thrilled to be invited to such a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. One of my friends from college, Jen (you may have seen her mentioned several posts back when I first came through Paris), married a fantastic Parisian fellow, David and is currently in town. Well it turns out David's cousin, Michael (might be misspelling this), is going out with an American girl, Lindsey, and they decided to make a Thanksgiving meal, to which we were then graciously extended an invitation.

It really was one of the most Thanksgivingy meals, I've ever been to - mostly because of the inspiring efforts of Lindsey and Jen. You see they didn't just make a Thanksgiving meal; they brought Thanksgiving with them across the Atlantic!

In her luggage, Lindsey brought all manner of Thanksgiving decoration (a banner, shiny Thanksgiving sparkles for the table, etc.), Stoufers stuffing, cranberries for the sauce, and some other foodstuffs as well! Jen wowed us even more. She brought an entire Turkey (free range & organic) in her suitcase, along with fall squashes and other somesuch. I'm not a carnivore, but I was pretty blown away by the effort (not to mention the risk - I mean what do you say to the customs officer if they question you about this one?).

So we ended up gathered around a table with all of the fixings, from cranberry sauce to American pie for dessert, with a group of 20-something American expats and Parisians having a lovely time. The company was great, the food fantastic, and after being out of the States for the longest stretch in my life (around half a year now - I've done a lot of traveling, just not very long-term) it was really nice to be celebrating the most American of holidays the way it should be celebrated - with large table full of great food surrounded by new friends and old!

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