This year I celebrated my second Thanksgiving away from home (the first was in 2009, but I was able to spend it in Paris with my Dad). With all the lessons I’ve had to teach, Thanksgiving has been/will be spread out over three weeks. My first lesson was two weeks ago Monday, and my final Thanksgiving lesson will be next Friday! It has been interesting to teach the kids about Thanksgiving, because it doesn’t exist in France, and even many of the teachers don’t know much about it. Some questions I’ve received are, “Do you receive gifts for Thanksgiving? Why would you eat turkey? Do you celebrate Christmas or New Year’s?” One student at the elementary school finally understood that I am from the US because of the Thanksgiving lessons.
I have made hand turkeys and reading a children’s book with almost all of the elementary school classes (I still will do two more next Friday) and one or two kids said they were thankful for me, which was nice! With the older kids I’ve been giving more factual lessons – history, vocabulary, and traditions.
I’m lucky to have Wednesdays and Thursdays off because that meant that Karen and I were free to cook a real Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! We started in the morning with the pumpkin pie (with a few mishaps). A second crust had to be bought because the first one was too crispy, and we learned that the can opener in the apartment doesn’t work AFTER I started mixing up the pie, but it worked out OK, and the pie was delicious of course. We also made stuffing, green beans with shallots and almonds, squash, mashed potatoes, gravy, duck (instead of turkey), and served cranberry sauce and rolls. It was a delicious dinner and we were happy to share it with our roommates, who had never experienced Thanksgiving before, and loved the food!
As much as I missed being with my family and friends for Thanksgiving, I am incredibly thankful to have this opportunity in France. I am constantly learning new things, and it is really exciting to be able to spend more than half of a year living and working in France, traveling around Europe, and working towards my future career (whatever that may be!). And of course I am thankful for my wonderful family, my friends (old and new), and as someone wrote on one of their hand turkeys, “the life”!
|Karen and I showing off our hard work!|