|So, today was one of those days people asked me about when they first heard I was going to Mexico for four months. "What are you going to do about Thanksgiving??" they'd ask. Up to a few days ago, that was a very good question.
The American volunteers here never meant for Thanksgiving to go uncelebrated. But then the most ambitious of our number went on vacation, and the other two of us were left trying to see what we could do. We had decided on a small meal, really just the two of us comiserating, when the third member reappeared. She was all gung-ho, ready for the turkey and stuffing and making it ourselves. Well, what could we say to that enthusiasm? Plans were made, and the adventure started on Wednesday night.
We went to Wal-Mart to buy supplies, figuring an American store was more likely to have American things. The Wal-Mart was much like American Wal-Marts, although there was no greeter at the doorway, something I frankly appreciated. It did have most of the stuff we needed, surprisingly. Cranberry sauce was found, ready made pies were found, gravy was found. Sweet potatoes fell by the wayside, but I for one was not overly saddened. THe choice of a turkey was quite difficult, but at least, as one of my partners in crime pointed out "you didn't have to worry about all the turkeys being gone the day before Thanksgiving". We were so laddened with stuff a bus back was not an option, so we took a cab to the office to drop our bounty.
THe Projects Abroad office had been elected as our location of choice, mainly because we had no oven anywhere else. So at around twelve I showed up to help with the feast. The turkey had already been in the oven for a few hours, and next came chopping, peeling and inventing recipes. We were quite ambitious, making turkey, stuffing, green been caserole, salad, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and two kinds of pie. To be sure, the cranberry sauce was out of a can and the pies were ready made, but what do you expect? As I sat in the kitchen with four cooks trying to do stuff and listened to others laughing just outside I thought to myself, this is really Thanksgiving. Everything was going more ore less swimmingly until the turkey would not finish cooking. It took a full hour and a half longer than expected. The Americans took this in stride, in fact it was part of Thanksgiving to us, waiting forever for the dumb bird. The Mexicans paced restlessly, setting the table in hopes that food would appear on it. Finally, twelve of us sat down to eat in a helter-skelter manner that would make most families proud. It was a really cool moment, with the Mexicans asking questions like "what's the red stuff" but always following it up with "hey, this is really good". The Americans swapped stories, like whether our family actually said grace before sitting down at the table. It was the first time I have not been related to anyone sitting at the Thanksgiving table with me, but it was a good time. All the food was eaten, even the turkey, where bits were cut off and then it was stuck back in the oven to cook some more. It was wonderful, I took some turkey home to Leonie and my host mom and they really loved it too. That was great :)
The meal was great, but lets not forget I am in Mexico. Six hours after I ate my Thanksgiving feast, where do you suppose I was? Salsa dancing of course :) That's a Mexican Thanksgiving for you :)