Tablecloths and plates appear, and three of the students are slicing cake they’ve baked — an all-from-scratch pumpking pie, pumpkin/chocolate bars, and a cranberry cheesecake. There’s a festive air in the 7b (11th grade) classroom. I’m not sure quite what to do with myself. It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I was all geared up for a morning of work. Instead, my first class of the day has thrown a surprise celebration, and I find I’m the guest of honor. Apparently, yesterday the teacher told the students that I might be homesick and a bit sad coming to work on Thanksgiving. So, they have gone out of their way to make it a special morning for the whole class.
Thanksgiving was a new experience here! Wednesday night found me in the kitchen rolling out pie dough and mixing up bread dough while chatting with two British musicians munching on elevensies after having just arrived for a pair of concerts that my roommate has spent the last months planning. A bassoonist, oboist, and cellist all spent the night, although the only “musical” thing about the night was someone snoring.
Thursday morning I punched down bread dough and hurried pumpkin pies out of the oven before racing for my train to work. Back home early afternoon, the apartment was soon buzzing with activity. Fellow TA Kate showed up with turkey in hand and got underway with Thanksgiving dinner preparations. Meanwhile, I was determined to hang a few pictures in the living room before Thanksgiving company arrived. At the same time, a few musicians and the conductor all arrived to meet up with Rachel for a train to a rehearsal and concert in a Enns. I found out that the conductor (from All Souls Church in London) is familiar with Knoxville.
Before long, enticing smells were coming from the kitchen. I combined climbing on a ladder in my bedroom hanging art while talking to the family on the phone and interrupting Mom to welcome another TA who had arrived early.
…The evening was a great success! There were 11 of us in all (six from the U.S., two from Britain, two from Austria, and one from France). For several, it was their first Thanksgiving experience. For me, it was hardly new to spend the holiday with international students, but it certainly was different to be sharing the day with new faces and in a different country and away from family. It felt a little weird being the hostess (isn’t that Mom’s job?) and suggesting we have a prayer of thanksgiving before dinner (isn’t that Dad’s job?). After a full evening of eating (oh my, way too much good food!), game playing, and conversation, the last person left about 11:15. At 12:30 when I tumbled into bed, there were still a few dishes, but I couldn’t think of anything better than sleep.
Today has been a quieter day. My only Black Friday purchase was some dental floss. Browsing in a bookstore I happened by (including an old book with the facing page pictured here) reminded me that back home Mom and Hannah were going bookstore shopping today. This afternoon, I met up with a fellow English teacher to help her with some grammar questions in students’ work. The hour she’d suggested easily turned into two, as we found ourselves talking about family, work, faith, travel, etc.
…If I stay up too much later, and I’ll turn into a pumpkin. Hoping that all my American readers have had a joyful Thanksgiving holiday. Hard to believe Christmas is around the corner! I’m sure decor is going up all over the place, as it is here, too! Tschüß!