Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving is only an American holiday, of course. So we have no luck with getting an official holiday off of work. Nevertheless, in order to keep our spirits up, and to feel connected to our fellow countrymen, we decided to take a day off anyway to celebrate. We took off Friday, instead of Thursday, so we could have a nice 3-day weekend. Although nothing could be quite as fun as last year, spending Thanksgiving together with all our old Pittsburgh buddies in Glasgow, we felt fortunate to have two good friends in Rotterdam, Jake & Erin from Houston, to share this great American holiday with.

It's actually funny the things we had to go through to make a dinner such as this happen. The week before we ordered (yes, ordered) a 4 kilogram turkey from the butcher shop. True to Dutch form, since we don’t have a car, Chad picked up the turkey, put it in his backpack, and biked home with it on his back. haha. We made all other foods from scratch, because they don't have the things we need in the grocery stores. I did, however, manage to score a can of Libby's pumpkin puree from a little American food shop in Amsterdam. So we could make a real pumpkin pie! Although, the day before we realized that we didn’t have a can of evaporated milk that the recipe called for, and of course the Dutch don’t sell it in their grocery stores. Luckily a colleague who bakes had a can that I was able to borrow, and the pie turned out great.

Another difficulty we encountered was that the Dutch evidently don’t use basters. Not a single store in town, including a kitchen supply store, carried a baster. And the people in the stores that we asked looked at us like we were crazy, and had never heard of what we were describing. So, we ended up using a soup ladle to baste the turkey, and it worked fine, it was just a bit more difficult.

A key component of a true Thanksgiving Day is watching football. Part of the benefit of celebrating on Friday instead of Thursday is that we could record all of the games as they were played overnight on Thursday (on Chad's favorite channel here, ESPN America). Then we could watch them on replay on Friday while we cooked. Hey, you gotta do what you can to ward off the homesickness. ;-)

The day before, Chad and Jake made a trip to a specialty beer store in Rotterdam that sells a lot of American beers. They loaded up their backpacks with as much as they could carry. I think the store owner probably thought they were either crazy or alcoholics (both are slightly true, I guess).

The dinner turned out to be great. We had all of the Thanksgiving staples: turkey, stuffing, gravy, green bean & sweet potato casserole (both cooked by Jake), cranberry sauce (which was difficult to find), crescent rolls, & pumpkin pie. Yum! It is nice to share the day with good friends, too. It makes it more special, I think. So, this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for the friends that we have made here in Holland!


Pics from Thanksgiving:

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