Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Thanksgiving party

Epic is the word that we chose to describe the Thanksgiving dinner and housewarming party.

Vladimir the turkey filled the entire oven but baked up nicely, and I had a lot of help from Tom and Sonja with peeling and chopping.With the smell of the turkey and the mess of butter and potato peels on the counter, it felt like Thanksgiving. Anne, Andy, and Noah came to join us and we managed to fit around the table and used our  windowsills to hold the extra food.

The meal turned out well, but mostly I was happy to have people over. Brian and I realized that in St Paul, we used to have people at our house all the time. Sometimes they dropped by unannounced, sometimes we made a fire out on the patio or had people stay for dinner but there were usually people coming by. That hadn't happened in Germany yet, and somehow that's what was missing to make it feel more like home.

We had just finished stuffing ourselves and washing dishes when it was time to set out another round of food for the party. The first people that came were Klaus and Katrin from downstairs. You might remember that they are the ones who told the landlord that we were too noisy when we did laundry on the weekends. They apparently felt bad about that and were trying to make up for it, so they came to our party. Klaus speaks some English so we got to rehash the whole issue again. We had just started on an awkward conversation about how the apartments were laid out and why our kitchen is above their bathroom when the doorbell rang again. Within 20 minutes there were about 25 more people at our house. It was the most punctual group of party-goers ever. It was mostly people from the international school and their significant others. Just in that group are Australians, English, Scottish, Canadians, Americans, and their mostly German wives/girlfriends. At one point we made a toast and said cheers in three languages. Another set of neighbors came up and brought us bread and salt, which is apparently a German housewarming tradition. Two of my classmates from my German course showed up too and we all practiced speaking German with the neighbors. Noah was a champ and the life of the party until way past his bed time. The leftover turkey and potatoes came out when I got all excited about feeding our guests. Someone put ketchup on the turkey. The sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie were an exotic treat. All the food was devoured and some drinks were spilled. It was a great time.

Yesterday we were left with a mess and some sticky floors and great stories to rehash with Tom and Sonja.  There is enough wine left over to do it again, and thankfully some beer too. Carrying cases of beer up the stairs to our apartment requires two people, strong legs, and a backpack, so it's good that other people brought us more. We don't need to do that again for a while. There is no turkey left, but that's ok. Since you can find 4 pound turkeys here, I could just make one again for the two of us.

Now I understand the idea of housewarming. It's not that people bring you dish towels or bread and salt, it's just the fact that they come over that makes it feel like home.

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About Me

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Thanks for coming to my blog. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now has become an ongoing project. I'm an American living in Germany and trying to travel whenever I can. I write about my experiences as an expatriate (the interesting ones and the embarrassing ones), and about my travels. There are some recurring characters in this blog, particularly my husband Brian and several of our friends. The title comes from the idea that living in a foreign country means making a lot of mistakes. So the things you used to do easily you now have to try over and over again. Hopefully, like me, you can laugh at how idiotic it feels. If you have happened upon my blog, then welcome. Knowing that people are reading what I write makes me keep going. Feel free to write comments or suggestions for future posts.