Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't.....

For us, it was just another day. The Mr went to work. The Munchkins were home from school for "teacher conference day", conveniently planned on the American holiday. And I was sick. The only reason it felt like Thanksgiving was seeing a highlight on the news of Santa Clause coming down the street in the Macy's Parade. And then there was the talking and skyping to family.
They called! They remembered us! They knew we weren't there and felt our absence. In a sad kinda way, it made me happy. Our first official holiday alone.

Munchkin One was very distraught a few weeks ago when he realized there would be no family around. So distraught, in fact, he broke into tears at the dinner table. The first time he has shown any sadness since our flight leaving. As his heart broke, so did mine. It was this moment I realized the absence of his family was really having an effect on him. The family dynamics as we knew them have changed dramatically. So much has built up to where we are now and he let it out. He wanted and needed a real family Thanksgiving. We planned one for the Sunday after Thanksgiving Thursday.

How do you make Thanksgiving in a country where one doesn't exist? In America, the atmosphere breads excitement! The air smells like pumpkin. You go into stores and decorations are up. Music is piped over speakers. People are in a festive mood. Everything Moscow is not. The school sold Thanksgiving dinner. Pick your items and place your order. First on the list...turkey! I don't think turkeys exist in Russia. I have nothing to back this up except to say there is no freezer case in the local grocer piled high with frozen Butterballs. To place the order, I needed to pick the size...in kilograms. Hello?! I am American. Conversion, please. I ordered the 7-8 kilo thinking this was the nice mid range, came stuffed and cooked. An extra order of stuffing, some gravy and cranberries completed the order. Many thousand rubles later, half my dinner was planned. Next up, was the planning and preparations for the next half, our family favorites. Now, to hit four supermarkets to find the rest, if I can even find what I need.

We invited our dear friends over, Diamand Lady and the Greek, who have become family. They had never had an American Thanksgiving. They gasp at the thought of putting marshmellows on sweet potatoes. Moreover, thought I made this up and it was my own sugar concoction. Thru conversation with another foreign family who lived in the States, they learned I did not indeed make this up and it is a real food! They had never had pumpkin pie and were eager to try.

Then the worst happened. I had to cancel! Our German embassy episode left me with a sick child and a frig full of food. Our friends wouldn't hear of it and soldiered on! Nothing was to get in their way!

Everything came together nicely! The flat was gently decorated with a few holiday items I have been able to pick up here and there. The guests arrived early and hungry. The bird was huge! Half our meal was bought, half homemade. It was the homemade that made the day and it was ALL about the food. It was the food that made Thanksgiving in Russia, Thanksgiving. The creature comforts of things familiar for Munchkin One to feel that some things haven't changed. His tummy was as full as his heart that day.

And Diamand Lady....she ate three servings of sweet potatoes with Marshmellows. For all the grief she gave me, she made me proud and ate my words. The pumpkin pie was a success, never having tasted anything like it. And now I know what my second can of pumpkin will be used for....Christmas!

Our plans have fallen through and we will be here, alone again....but this time with family, Diamand Lady and The Greek.

1 comment:

The Diamond Lady said...

This diamond lady can't wait for christmas just to have sweet potato with marshmallow and the Greek is dreaming of pumpkin pie......what have you done to us.....we are turning into Americans!