Friday, December 5, 2008
It is always difficult to be away from "home" for the holidays, but I have always firmly believed that home is wherever my family is and for now--that is here in Macedonia. Thanksgiving is a particularly difficult holiday for me, given that my mom passed away the day after Thanksgiving in 2001. It was always her favorite holiday and she really made it special. Now, it is up to me to carry on her traditions and cook really big!! Though Me-ma would have never settled for an 11 pound turkey, it was all that I could get, so I happily prepared it. As is also my mom's tradition, we snapped a photo of the bird, as you can see above.
It seems to be a requirement to have lots of folks around the table for Turkey day! In Doha, we enjoyed sharing our holidays with soldiers on R&R from Iraq, our British neighbors, and other local friends. In Luxembourg, we had quiet meals with just ourselves, which just never felt right. Here in Skopje, I was eager to share our meal with friends, so we invited Anastasia's teacher and our new babysitter's family to join us. Since Miss Virginia is a young single woman living outside the US for the first time, she gladly accepted the opportunity to spend the holiday with the family. Hani, our new babysitter, has worked with Americans before and is familiar with the holiday, so she was excited to join us too, along with her husband and her son.
We had a lovely traditional meal--turkey, homemade stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, brocoli, candied sweet potatoes, corn, gravy, peas, fresh cornbread, apple pie, chocolate cream pie, etc. Hani brought some delicious Macedonian cheese and spinach pies as well, and it was nice to have something Macedonian for the feast. We spent the day enjoying wonderful food and even better conversation. It was great to have a chance to get to know our new friends and welcome them into our home. It is important to share our traditions and to learn new ones, and I am glad we were able to do so here in Skopje! I am looking forward to many special holidays with our family and friends in Macedonia.