Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hand Turkeys

Celebrating Thanksgiving in a foreign country is the oddest of all the holidays since it's only recognized by the US.  I mean sure, other people have heard of it (fewer the farther away you get), but for the most part we expats are on our own.  So walking down the street on Thanksgiving day felt like having a secret no one knew about.  I was celebrating and radiating joy and gratitude* while everyone else was going through an average day.  It felt like being magical or something, its hard to describe.  Anyway, I had little kids to teach on Thanksgiving day and dutifully drew hand turkeys.  I actually got in trouble for this when my twin 5yr olds' father walked in and asked me why, after only a month, his children weren't speaking English at home with him and suggested that "all [you] do is draw pictures with them," but no regrets.  Also he is wrong and clearly doesn't understand the concept of cultural education.  After work, I waited in the teachers' room (and drew a beautiful hand turkey) with Nick and Nina before heading to the Starlight Diner, where we had a delightful (and traditional) Thanksgiving dinner with some friends.  We also got the manager to give us free ice cream with our pie as an apology for not showing American football on TV as promised on their website. 

After work on Friday, I procured a potato masher from Martin (he totally saved the day with that) and headed home to buy 2.5kilos of potatoes and then turn them into mashed potatoes for the Thanksgiving potluck John was hosting at his place after work on Saturday.  Thanksgiving was a success, John managed to get turkey (which is a little tricky in Russia), and everyone ate so much they felt they might die.  A bunch of us opted to catch the last metro home (just barely) instead of taking a cab, and then we fell into food comas.  Chien also took some leftover turkey home, so despite planning on never eating again for the rest of my life, he, Ulianna, and I had leftover turkey sandwiches and mashed potatoes, just like real Thanksgiving.  This was joined by staying in pjs and not leaving the house.  Perfect.

Now I'm ready for Christmas, and so is Russia...or New Year, since they celebrate that the way we do Christmas. More on that when the date gets closer.  Anyway, Christmas lights are up! And Christmas decorations are in the shops.  Snow has returned, I've pulled out my warmer coat, and I'll soon have to buy a super big coat and warmer boots.  Christmas songs abound at school, and the semester is almost over.  Oh also, today I was told that my Russian is really good! I walked to the post office to mail things, but I couldn't get the door open.  I walked to the other door thinking it must just be a thing. When that door didn't open, I double checked their business hours on the sign and walked around to the other side of the building looking for another door.  There was another door all right, but it was to a different business.  After a comical exchange with the elderly security guard (who didn't realize I was a foreigner until I got flustered and exclaimed in a whiny voice that I just wanted stamps), he informed me that the post office was closed for lunch. At 2pm.  Of course they were...Russia. 

*I'm thankful for everything that has happened for me over the past year.  I'm also thankful for you guys! Thank you for caring enough to check this from time to time, and a big special thanks for those of you who have actually made the effort to keep in touch and communicate.  Big bear hugs!

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