Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Having never been responsible for an entire thanksgiving dinner myself, I would like to start out by saying that I am exhausted! It’s much harder to celebrate family and food in a country where your family isn’t and with food that’s just not the same… but we made do and as far as I’m concerned our potluck style Thanksgiving was a complete success.
Two other gringas and myself have been planning this meal since we got here in August (which was the middle of winter and seemed like a much more appropriate time to be eating turkey and pumpkin pie than it does right now since it’s about 90 degrees outside). I even asked my parents to bring me some Thanksgiving essentials when they came to visit (Thanks you guys!) but that didn’t keep us from running into a few problems.
Our first issue was the fact that turkeys are out of season in Chile at the moment. As a replacement, we settled for BBQing every other kind of meet people could get their hands on.
I myself spent the better part of the day trying to recreate an already untraditional pumpkin pie that my family makes every year. What I ended up with was a really untraditional pumpkin pie a la Chile. Besides the obvious aesthetic differences between my “pie” and the original, I lost track of how many alterations I made to the recipe. It’s easy to say “Pop over to the store and get vanilla pudding mix, heavy whipping cream, and ginger”… but the execution of that HERE is a little tricky, given issues with translation and the fact that some of that stuff (specifically vanilla pudding mix) just doesn’t seem to exist here. I think it must have turned out alright since there was none left by the end!
Over 40 people ended up coming, and it wasn’t just Americans that wanted to celebrate either. Folks from Canada, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Finland, El Salvador, and Chile (obviously) all showed up. I don’t think any one person knew everyone that was there (not even Matt, who essentially hosted this whole event on the roof of his apartment building). I certainly hadn’t met everyone before! We left the invitation open so some people brought boyfriends and girlfriends from other universities in Santiago, some people brought cousins or host family members, some people brought friends they’d made at church, and of course there were classmates as well.
Besides just being a really enjoyable evening and a nice break from studying, it was also a perfect close to the school year. A couple people showed up with guitars towards the end so they played and we sang and it just felt like the end of camp. Also, as depressing as this thought is, it was the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to a bunch of people that I’m probably never going to see again.
As unconventional as our feast was, I have to say it was probably one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever had.