Sunday, November 27, 2011


Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving, my very favourite of the American holidays.
We held the occasion at my youngest brother’s apartment, very nicely situated on the ground floor of a building that backs onto the harbour, with a salt water pool and evidently full of really boring tenants as not a single other person ventured out on such a magnificent day.
Lets also remember that we’ve just had a week of torrential rain and back-in-your-winter-woollies weather, which had Q (and therefore her mother) losing her mind.
What’s wrong with people? You couldn’t have dragged us inside even if you’d bribed us with food.
Speaking of...we celebrated Thanksgiving by showing solidarity with the 50-odd million illegal immigrants to the US and had Mexican.
Photography by our friend Blair.
All homemade by my chef husband, and followed with a number one cake that was made with love, if not expertise by Q’s doting mother. Moi.
Blair did not take this picture. I did.
I tried people, really I did.
I don’t have to do another number ‘one’ for another 9 years. 
I love Thanksgiving, it’s such a great holiday. No gifts, no pressure, just a great meal with your favourite people.
Although people did bring gifts, because it also coincided with Q’s first birthday and she got spoilt rotten. I’m going to hide a bunch of them and stagger their introduction, claiming credit for them as we go.
She also got given oodles of second-hand clothes.
In 12 months I have bought her two things – a dress to wear to her uncle’s wedding and a swimming nappy.
When people first gave me clothes, I meticulously re-washed and folded them all. Now? Bugger it.
What kind of friend would give you dirty clothes?
If the Yanks do one thing well, it’s holidays. They really throw their backs into it. We were in the states just recently in time for Halloween and I really wished Q had been old enough to want to dress up as a Munchkin from The Wizard of OZ, and make her father dress up as a lion and me a wicked witch, and parade from house to house seeking treats in the chilly dark air, passing ghosts and supermen and fairies and stopping at places lit with candles, jack-o-lanterns and spooky looking ghouls.
 Back in 2002 when I’d moved to the states, it had been about the same time of year, and I remember watching in delight as people strung Christmas lights out their New York apartments, dragged Christmas trees down snowy streets and up 3 flights of stairs and the incessant ringing of the Salvation Army Bell on every street corner, calling for donations.
I remember pumpkin spiced lattes at Starbucks, which just sound outright disgusting to me.
Hot pumpkin flavoured coffee mixed with milk?
I don’t care for Starbucks as a rule, their coffee is notoriously terrible. But they’re open late, don’t care how long you sit at their tables, and are guaranteed to have a public toilet. Many a time I’ve ducked into one on my way from dance class to work, desperately ripping leotard and tights aside to avoid a total catastrophe.
So thank you Starbucks for your latrines, but please stop calling your cups tall, grande and venti.
You are not Italian.
And neither are your customers.
The terms small, medium and large will do just nicely thank you very much.
You can almost redeem a cup of bad Starbucks coffee with another great American invention – half and half. The half cream-half milk you can buy to try to overcome the acidic taste of burnt percolated coffee, made at 5am and still festering on the hot plate at 10pm that night.
 Wheat thins are another gem we Aussies are missing out on. Delicious wheaty, salty goodness. They’re a mid-priced cracker, but as all food in the US is a 9th of the price we’re charged down under, you can actually afford to buy them.

 The Duggars are another American favourite. Or they used to be. At first I thought they were funny and weird.
Now, with their 20th child on the way, I think they’re just weird.
All their children play a musical instrument.
20 kids.
That’s an orchestra people.
But there’s never a show of artistic histrionics in their family, they’re all always so calm.
I imagine they avoid caffeine. Even seasonally inspired pumpkin spiced lattes.
It seems they avoid Halloween too, though for religious, not glucose related hyperactivity purposes.
Shopping in general (while still a detested activity) is a lot more bearable in the US when you go to the outlet malls near my in-laws house and buy up a year’s supply of running shoes for the same amount as one pair here.
It is how my husband justifies his collection of Chucks sneakers. Every colour but maroon.
America has a lot to offer (if you can look past the jeans and white sneakers) and thanksgiving is one of the best.
So while we swapped green bean casserole for homemade guacamole, overcrowded buses at Port Authority for strolls in the burning sun, and snowball fights for cool swims in sparkling water, it was still a fabulous celebration.
Thank you America, for giving me thanksgiving, in an I-married-an-American kind of way, and welcome to the holidays people, let the festivities begin.

1 comment:

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