Saturday, November 26, 2011

Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias - Happy Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again - the holidays!!  I have faced the holidays with a much more positive attitude this year than I did last year.  This is my favorite time of year full of tons of traditions between our family and our friends.  And it makes me miss home even more. 

But knowing that last year we managed just fine thru the holiday season AND we even enjoyed it despite being away from home, gave me a good feeling that this year, yet again, we'd be ok.  And I was right.  Last year we had some friends and Josh's co-workers over to our place to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Our apartment is small and it was crowded but the idea of all of us being "alone" without our families on Thanksgiving and coming together as a "new" family, actually made it that much more special. 

And so it was with that mentality that we have faced the upcoming season.  And we have even looked forward to it!  This year we spent Thanksgiving with our friends the Persson's - Gina, Jorgen and Adam.  Gina and I spent the 2 weeks before the big day planning out the menu and ordering up our turkey.  I went to the same chicken lady that I did last year and she recognized me.  Though she did try to convince me that Thanksgiving wasn't til next week.  I had to explain to her that while holidays here always fall on the same day each year, in the US, many holidays are observed on either Monday or Friday or in the case of Thanksgiving, on a certain week of the month.  So now she knows that each year it changes.

On Wednesday Gina and I went to pick up our 6 kilo turkey (about 13 lbs) which was HUGE.  Keep in mind the ovens here are significantly smaller than those in the US.  So anything bigger than this and I think we would have been up a creek.  Gina offered to cook and I did much of the baking since that's more my area... you know, because I can make it from a mix :)  Everytime I'd offer her a mix for something, like say stuffing or corn bread, she'd give me a look and tell me she was making it from scratch - um, yup, this is going to be some yummy meal in that case!!

And it was!  I picked up the kids early on Thursday from school and we headed up to Vallvidrera (just on the outskirts of the city) overlooking the Med to work on prepping for our big turkey dinner.  Turkey was in the oven and it was just a matter of putting everything else together.  We had a great time just cooking (ok Gina did most of the cooking and I did a lot of observing and/or chopping of veggies) and hanging out and the kids watched some of the parade, played on the wii and the ipad.  A mellow day full of anticipation for the dinner that evening.

Playing the wii

Prepping for more food!

Self entertaining

A new hang out spot

Josh, Jorgen and Frank arrived from work and Adam came home from basketball practice. Aidan worships the ground that Adam (he's 13) walks on and followed him everywhere. He hung out in Adam's room while he did homework, followed him back and forth from kitchen to living room, etc. And Liam just self entertained himself. It was a great evening.

Jorgen, Frank and Josh

Watching football! 

The turkey and all the fixings were fabulous!  Of course, Liam has been sick this week and as we were cooking I wasn't feeling 100% myself.  So by the time the turkey and stuff came out, I was just in no mood for food :(  Isn't that always the case - total Murphy's Law!  So I didn't eat as much as I would have liked but the scale did thank me in the morning for that one in the end.  But now I'm going to have to make another apple crisp today just so I get a chance to enjoy it! 

And just some of the fabulous food we ate!

Liam fell asleep in a chair around 9:30 and shortly thereafter we called a cab to pick us up.  I have always taken the funicular up to Gina's place and it's a straight line up the mountain.  But man, when you take a cab, talk about your long windy roads... whew!  I had a puke bag ready to go for Liam but I almost thought I would need it! 

We had an absolutely fantastic time with friends on Thanksgiving and it was a great way to celebrate our American traditions in Spain.  It's a day to give thanks and so I must say, I'm thankful for so much.  First of course, for my family and their health.  And then to the amazing opportunities that we have had while living abroad these past 2 years.  We've made wonderful friends here, seen so many places and have enjoyed so many new experiences.  The kids are in a school that we love and learning so much not just academically but about life and how to enjoy it and to appreciate it.  It is something we will be thankful for for years to come.  And to be able to celebrate with such wonderful people made the day all the more special!  Hope everyone at home had a great holiday as well!


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