Shocking to more Americans than I would think to be acceptable, Germany does not celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday. However, in a program with about half of the students coming from America, and a large chunk of the rest having spent some considerable time in the land of plenty, it was inevitable that we would come up with a way to overcome this.
I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday shopping, planning, cooking, baking, and drinking to prepare for our feast last night. Friday night a few of us gathered at the school to decorate, which ended in the construction of a teepee made out of printer paper, staples, and some branches found in the woods out back, as well as some construction paper and feather Indian headdresses.
Saturday morning the cooking (and mimosas) commenced around 10am, with the women cooking and prepping and the men playing cards in the next room. Thankfully we were eventually able to convince them to help in peeling potatoes (and even wrangled a German friend into helping… however he didn’t get it when I told him to ‘stop complaining about peeling potatoes, that’s what it was like to be a Pilgrim!’). Having to cook multiple dishes to account for vegetarians, vegans, muslims and lactose intolerant guests was an interesting twist, but we heard no real complaints throughout the night so I think we were successful.
Eventually we lugged our 3 turkeys, along with trays and trays of sides (many of which I had never had before… brussel sprouts? creamed spinach?) down to the school. Many of our classmates (and staff) were concerned that the makeshift Native American dwelling was actually going to be lit aflame (thank God it didn’t come to that) and the evening ended with a campfire-style singalong of everyone’s favorite American songs (of course including such hits as Country Roads, Take Me Home, and Summer of 69)
God Bless America.