Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkey Day!

Let me tell you a little bit about Thanksgiving in Bulgaria. The holiday isn't celebrated beside roaring fires. Pies on pies on pies? Nay. Jumbo turkey stuffed with all manner of herbs and vegetables? Not happening. Family football game in the backyard? Uh-uh. I missed Thanksgiving as I've always known it, Thanksgiving with momma in the kitchen, grandma fussing over the gravy, dad grumbling about football and peeling potatoes, sisters fighting over who gets to eat the leftovers in the pumpkin pie mixing bowl, grandpa giving me a high five and making coffee, hands pruning up from peeling boiled eggs, family talk and good food and lit candles and all the happiness.

But I didn't miss Thanksgiving altogether! In fact, I was lucky enough to take part in two beautiful, unique Thanksgiving dinners. I was able to make pumpkin pie, to whip up mashed potatoes, to taste and smell roasting turkey, and to count my blessings alongside good friends.

My fellow teachers, school staff, and I had a dinner in the staff room on Turkey Thursday. The school's carpenter, who turns out to be a master chef (legit), prepared two flawless turkeys, one made in the Bulgarian way and the other prepared "American style." I made my first-ever homemade pumpkin pie (roasted dat pumpkin, rolled out dat crust) and all the other teachers contributed a dish- pickled veggies, macaroni and cheese made with sugar, roasted pumpkin slices, homemade wine in fanta bottles (classic Bulgaria), flavorful rice dishes. It was the most zaney, mixed-up Thanksgiving of my life, but it was delicious and made me feel so at home.


One of the teachers, one who doesn't really speak English, told me "You, our family, all of us," while motioning to the other staff members. She was telling me that I was a part of their family at that moment, and I nearly cried! This was their first Thanksgiving, and they were nearly as giddy as I felt! I felt so at home, and so grateful that they shared this wonderful holiday with me.

The second turkey dinner was celebrated in Plovdiv with some of the other ETA's. We rented a house, shopped together, and dug in up to our elbows in butter (waddup, Paula), sauces, herbs, and flour to make the dinner. I spent three glorious hours making pies, making fun of Kanye's "Bound 2" music video, and relaxing with a friend and good tunes. Dinner was, of course, hilarious. We said grace in three ways- with a jewish prayer (prayer? song? sorry, my Jewish friends!), with a catholic prayer, and a protestant prayer. We passed around a bottle of spirits and declared what we have "beam" thankful for this year, we toasted to our health, we watched fun videos. A merry time was had by all.

ETA's celebrating!

Just a little table humor.

The pie queens! Homemade apple, cheesecake, and pumpkin. Uh huh, honey!

I had assumed Thanksgiving would be difficult and that nothing could fill the void of missing my family's dinner for the first time in my life. The day/ weekend was weird and it was at some points really hard, but it was perfect and fun. So glad to have a solid group of people here in BG to share my experience with!

1 comment:

  1. Sarah! We are so blessed for you! We love Europe and the people there. Please keep blogging...we are "listening" and enjoying what God is doing in your life there. Debbie prayed for you as a baby & look! Love ya! The Peters Family Romans 8:28