Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. Not because of the history, mind. Thanksgiving has a pretty violent and unhappy history, despite what the history textbooks and elementary school plays may tell us. Thanksgiving did not spawn from a meal shared by pilgrims and Native Americans. No, the Pilgrims killed the Native Americans and everything we’ve learned is a lie.
No, Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday because it involves family and friends coming together to share a wonderful meal and to laugh, talk, and enjoy each other’s company. I know that not everyone is able to have a comfortable Thanksgiving. Not everyone is able to go home and see their families. Unfortunately, some people are not welcome by their families to come home. But, we are able to choose our families through our friends.
I am lucky and incredibly privileged to have an awesome and understanding family. Over the past few years we have created the tradition of driving to my cousin’s house for Thanksgiving lunch and then heading into the sitting room to have a jam session for a couple hours on the guitars, ukulele, banjo, and piano. It’s a lot of fun, low stress, and the food is delicious.
This year is the second year I have spent in Namibia on Thanksgiving day. I’m always a little bummed out, since I’m missing out on time with my family. I get to come home in less than a month (!!!) for the December and January holidays, but still. It would be nice to be home for this one as well.
However, my sadness is always short-lived, because the other volunteers in my region make time to get together over the weekend to have a Friendsgiving together, as a family. Or, more fitting, as a Namily.
Last year, we got together and went out to eat at a local restaurant in the nearest large town. This year, we got together and decided to cook our own meal, complete with a turkey.
I should mention that this turkey was not store bought.
We got it live.
It was alive.
Walking and gobbling.
A LIVE TURKEY.
And Frances named him Trevor.
Trevor the Turkey.
He’s dead and gone now.
For our Thanksgiving feast, we started early on Saturday, collecting money, doing some shopping, and starting to prep the various dishes. And by “prepping” I mean slaughtering, cleaning, and putting Trevor in the oven.
I’ll spare the details, but Trevor made for a clean kill. We plucked out all the feathers and shoved our hands up his…well, let’s just say we cleaned out all of the insides. We stuffed butter, garlic, and orange slices under the skin, and put it in the oven to roast.
While this was happening, we took a swimming break, which resulted me in getting swimmer’s ear, going deaf on my right side, and it still hasn’t cleared! Holiday fun!
After swimming and having some time in the sun and fresh air (we haven’t gotten a lot of that recently because it’s now summertime and it’s been so hot that many of us have taken to holing up in our houses laying in front of our fans…), we returned to the house of cooking (Thanks, Cheyenne!). There, the turkey still cooked, and we put together all of the side dishes to add to our feast.
- Macaroni and cheese (boil noodles, drain the water, then add milk and a lot of cheese and let it melt)
- Fall salad (lettuce, cranberries, apple slices, cucumbers)
- Chicken burritos (we had a lot of doubts about whether or not this turkey plan was going to come through…it did…but we still enjoyed burritos with shredded chicken, corn, black beans, guacamole, and pico de Gallo)
- Mashed potatoes (they were vegan!)
- Sweet potato casserole (this was not vegan!)
- Rice (self-explanatory)
- Cranberry sauce (We found the coveted sauce in a can)
- Fruit salad (yummy yummy)
- Bread rolls
- Apple pie for desert (made from complete scratch!)
- Trevor the Turkey (we might have slightly overcooked him and you could definitely still taste adrenaline…he was really spooked before he bit the dust)
I am grateful to have had this time with other volunteers from my region. It is nice to get together with everyone and share a meal. Although I could not be with my biological family this year, I was with my friends, my Namily, whom I chose and love (technically I didn’t choose them, the US government did, but I did choose whether or not I would go!).
Be thankful for your people.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Tears of laughter here, Elizabeth! Never give up writing, ever! You have a real gift for vivid description. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!