An Expat’s Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving.

I love the food.

I love the social gatherings.

I love pausing and thinking about what I’m grateful for.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I try to remind myself how lucky I am so that I won’t take my blessings for granted. In years past, there were many Thanksgivings where it was hard to identify what I felt grateful for, but this Thanksgiving was a lot easier. And for that, I’m also grateful.

Two of my loves

I must admit that I do feel conflicted about Thanksgiving as a holiday. I prefer to think of Thanksgiving in a more modern sense rather than the traditional sense.  So instead of feeling bad about the original Thanksgiving, I celebrate the idea of giving thanks and reflecting on my gratitude. Thanksgiving was traditionally a celebration marking the end of harvest season and for me it’s usually marks the end of the semester. I will always drink to that!

This year was obviously different for us. On Thanksgiving Day, both Carl and I had to work. That night we called and FaceTimed our family members to check in and say hello. It was wonderful talking to everyone – even if it was only for 10 minutes at a time.

We celebrated Thanksgiving the Saturday after the holiday. Some of my fellow Fulbrighters joined us for a feast at our house. It was so nice to have a busy household filled with people. Both Jethro and Isaac were also very happy with the environment. It was also so nice to swap stories and share experiences. Our group has not met for two months and it was comforting to hear how well everyone is doing. We have some fantastic teachers in our group and some very funny story tellers.

The beginning of the feast

Carl and I managed to pull off a pretty nice party. It was our first gathering with more than one or two people here. Planning the menu was the easy part; finding the key ingredients was the hard part. For instance, finding a whole turkey is kind of a big deal here. You can buy them, but they’re not common. Usually, you have to speak to a butcher and reserve the turkey a few weeks ahead of time. Fortunately, one of my friends found one at the store and bought it for me, saving me the trouble of ordering one from a butcher. Additionally, items like evaporated milk (for the pumpkin pie) and cream of mushroom soup (for the greenbean casserole) are non-existent in Romania. Or at least that’s what I determined after going to 5 stores to find them. Because of that, substitutions were made. Some substitutions were good, some not so good. It’s all a learning process for the next party we throw. I was also fortunate to have my fellow diners each bring a dish with them from home. We had a wonderful feast and all left with full bellies.

The bird. So tasty.
Pureed pumpkin is not sold in cans here. You have to roast and puree the pumpkin yourself. As you can tell, I bought too big of a pumpkin 🙂

This week marks the beginning of the Romanian Christmas season. Romania’s National Day is on Friday. National Day commemorates Romania’s unification of all of its regions. It’s also the marker for the Christmas holiday and Christmas markets all across the country. 2018 is the 100 year anniversary of unification and there will be numerous celebrations throughout the year. We’re excited to be here for it and will be sure to post pictures!


We’re off to Rothenburg, Germany this weekend to experience a traditional German Christmas market. We’ll post the pictures next week!

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