Saturday, 4 December 2010

Turkey, Santa, Snow, and Trees

I'll be diving right in to the past few weeks. Sometime it just has to be this way.

Turkey Day- For the beloved holiday based off family, eating, and American football we found ourselves in two variations of the day. The first was at the boss' family home with a few other expats on the Holiday Thursday. All the requirements were there: friendly folks, TV on during the meal, kids table, plenty of food with all the traditional requirements, even a turkey from Popeye's. Oh yah. It was lovely to be around other Americans and just have O run in a pack of kids and watch Nickelodeon.

That Saturday we held our own festivities here in Cheveley. Our friends Ron and Maria are from the good-old-days of Greenkill and are versed in many American customs. So, along with them, they brought a set of parents, and a brother with his family. They were newbies to American cuisine and T-day traditions. We made sure not to fail them. Josh made an awesome turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. I made the rest: homemade bread, roasted root vegi, sprouts, sweet potato pie, apple pie, mash potatoes. THEN I made the American "classics" out of a can or box: stove top stuffing, green bean casserole, Pillsbury crescent rolls (most amazed one was of the packaging) cranberry sauce with the can shape intact, sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows, and cherry Jello.
It was a good meal. Interesting questions of "why" do we celebrate and "how" were asked. But simply getting together as a family and eating is the primary function of the day. Not the history behind it at all. A good cultural exchange it was. And the first time many of them had ever tried pumpkin pie or sweet potatoes cooked in those manners.Sunday was a chilly day. We had been graced with true winter weather and it was -2C out. Perfect weather for a fun run. Josh dressed up in a nice thin felt Santa suit and Olive was cautiously bundled by myself for the event. It was a 2K. Josh and O made it back quick before I had anytime to do x-mas shopping. The rest of the morning in Bury St. Edmunds was spent at their holiday market. We walked the stalls, got hot drinks, dressed O as an angel at the Church's living nativity and ate Pannekoek (which is a mini Dutch pancake/crepe).All through the week it was cold and snowy. Most of the north was plagued with issues of snow and ice. We only had 2 inches thought the week. Enough for "sledding" in the backyard- which is really running and then whipping olive off the sled onto the ground. Really, she loved it. She did.

This past weekend was getting ready for Christmas here. Olive is trilled that she gets to wake up to a chocolate every morning. Maybe we should have scooted the time in hindsight, but can't change the pattern now. We went to get a tree on Saturday. It was a "farm" which you chose your pre-cut tree from. A small fortune later, we had procured a tree and had it pulled to our car by dog. The Newfoundlands people were there to help raise funds for charity and had their big woolly, slobbery friends were hooked to wooden carts to help you out. Olive wasn't having it at first due to their booming barks. Then slowly, after a few pets, wet muzzles to the face, and warmth of them, she gave it. She now wants one of them too.

The rest of the day was setting up the tree, explaining the magic of Santa (too many detail questions, I'm soon to be caught in a lie), and general holiday cheer. The family has been plagued by the never-ending-cough-of-England. In Josh's attempt to cure himself with Hot Toddy's, he fell asleep before 8pm.

Sunday was another day out and about. We ended going to Blackthorpe Barn for a craft fair. Yeah, for me. I ended up getting a etching of a rabbit by this Welsh woman. Me being me, I asked if her work was on-line, she smiled at me, gave me a phone number and said for me to keep trying to call if the line was down. So, I decided to get one instead of wait due to poor phone service up her mountain lane.

Sinterklass came later that evening after several choruses of "Sinterklaas Kapoentje" with Oma and Opa on Skype. S. managed to toss in chocolate coins, chocolate hedgehogs, a pound of marzipan, owl hat (thanks Nana), 2 books, and, Cookie Monster Wii game into the carefully selected boots Olive put out for the family. Boots see because they are bigger than your every day shoes. We've got a smart one here already understanding volume!This week we're gearing up for our weekend in Germany. Ryan Air adventure and Christmas market stories to come.

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