Hello, friends and family!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Although it was our first Thanksgiving overseas, it was a long week full of food and friends.
Most US embassies host a Thanksgiving lunch the week of the holiday, with the Ambassador and Deputy serving the turkey. At our lunch, guests bring sides and desserts to round out the meal, and it was like a big family lunch. It was fun to see what each person brought to the meal.
The Croats love this tradition because they get to experience a Thanksgiving meal, and we love it because it reminds us of home. I made my mom's stellar Creamy Sweet Corn, and it made the meal feel even more like home. Others brought typical Thanksgiving meals like sweet potatoes and pecan pie. In fact, the desserts were outstanding!
Our busy Thanksgiving week continued on Thursday. We had a Friendsgiving with other families in our embassy community. This lunch had even more traditional Thanksgiving dishes, like green bean casserole and a veggie tray. I again made my momma's corn (because it is one of my favorite dishes from home!).
Bret made one of the turkeys, and it felt like the Thanksgiving struggle was real once again. He prepared and basted the turkey, and we roasted it all morning. We needed a relatively small turkey to fit in our smaller-than-American sized oven - the turkey pan we brought doesn't even fit! Luckily, another friend was bringing a 25-pounder so we had plenty of turkey for lunch.
It was a big group, and we had tons of delicious food. I tried to make a pumpkin pie, but it was not a great first attempt. I mean, it was pumpkin flavor with whipped topping, so it was not inedible, but I will have to make my Nan proud with another attempt next year. The trick will be a homemade crust, I think...
Finally, we saw Vienna for the first time last weekend and had a non-traditional Thanksgiving potluck. I made boxed carrot cake with homemade icing, and that was MUCH better than my first dessert attempt. It was amazing to see friends and meet new people, and I got baby cuddles all night.
Although we miss our family Thanksgiving lunches, it was great to have pieces of our traditions follow us abroad. I hope your holiday had as much love, gratitude and good food as ours did!
P.S. I have even gotten into the Christmas decorating spirit. I found some adorable decorations at IKEA and put them up last week. I can't wait to share with you how the Croats decorate and celebrate!
P.P.S. Black Friday has made it to Europe! It is funny because they do not celebrate American Thanksgiving, but they do begin their Christmas markets around the same time. So they boost their holiday sales by bringing a popular shopping day - Black Friday! Funny to see America's influence in ways like this abroad.
Love to all,