Last year we went home for November, and enjoyed Thanksgiving with my in-laws and my friend Curt and were in Singapore for Christmas. This year, we’re doing the inverse, mostly because of the baby. Our pediatrician didn’t love the idea of us flying before she was six weeks old (although technically she *could* fly much earlier, once she had a passport) and taking my original due date into consideration, Christmas made sense. I’m a bit nervous about running into snow delays and cancellations, but I’m really excited, too, as Christmas (to me) is intrinsically linked with cold weather, the smell of pine trees, and big comfy sweaters….not shorts, palm trees and swimming.
My friend Kate has told me I must have been a Jewish Grandmother in a past life because I love to feed large crowds of people. (To be fair I love feeding people, period…a complete irony as I’m one of the pickiest eaters you’ll ever meet and don’t like half of what I enjoy cooking). Since we were going to be here for T-day, I decided to host a small gathering, and cooked up a storm for several days prior.
Our guests included our friends M and family, who sadly couldn’t stay long (but we sent them home with extra food), my friend E and two of his friends, Kirsten and of course our family, including B. It was Kirsten and B’s first experience with Thanksgiving, and I realized that although I’m from Massachusetts (home of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving mythology) I suck at explaining it. Probably because I know too much…if I start talking about the holiday, I end up going on a pedantic lecture about how mythologized the “first thanksgiving” has gotten, what it was really like, how the Civil War factors in, etc. Ravi and I did explain it wasn’t really the authentic experience because there was no arguing with relatives (just kidding, guys!) or football.
I was sad to see M and her family leave, but as a fellow mom, I fully understand that we live on our kid’s schedules.
B enjoyed the food, but felt uncomfortable hanging out with everyone, and chose to relax on her own after eating. I felt awkward, because on a day to day basis, I forget about the huge gulf of privilege that separates us, and I had hoped she would hang out and enjoy the holiday with us. However, it’s not about what *I* want, but what makes her happy. We made sure she knew she was encouraged and welcome to join us, but we weren’t going to make her do something she was uncomfortable doing.
I’m so lucky that Kirsten is such a good sport as Elanor glommed onto her from the moment she walked in the door and insisted on sitting with her, and then after the food, climbing on her, ordering (sorry, we’re working on the bossy streak) Kirsten to build with her, and generally loving on K. Kirsten blogged about the experience here, including some awesome pictures (K-you shouldn’t just freelance in journalism, but photography too–I love the pictures you take of my girls!). Go check it out!
Kirsten, Ravi, E, E’s guests (I’m not using names as I’m not sure of their level of comfort of mention on a public blog) and myself had a wonderful hours long conversation. It was during that conversation that I was reminded of the point of Thanksgiving–the being thankful part. I am so thankful that the strange twists and turns of fate led me to a place where I could sit in the home we’ve made on the opposite side of the world from where we grew up with a group of interesting friends and discuss everything from Broadways shows to how living expenses in Hong Kong break down. I’m thankful to have met such interesting people and that they have welcomed me into their lives as well. And I’m thankful that my girls will grow up surrounded by such caring and diverse role models.
I was too busy enjoying myself and talking to take many pictures, but I did get some of the food…
The Cornbread stuffing from the picture above
Ocean Spray Cranberry Jelly (at Ravi’s request)
Mashed Potatoes (I bake the potatoes, scoop out the interior and mash with butter, salt and pepper)
Gravy (made from the packet included with the turkey)
Apple Pie (not pictured)
I know I mentioned buying plane tickets, but that is still a work in progress. I’ll update you with dates as soon as we have them.