Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kosovo: A Kosovo Thanksgiving Chapter 3, Scene 4

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I have always enjoyed the simplicity of the day and the traditions.  I know many countries celebrate a day of thanksgiving, but Americans hold a special place in their heart for this day of family gathering.

I grew up on a farm. My early memories of Thanksgiving all include time spent with my extended family at my grandparents' house. The menu was predictable. Grandma roasted the turkey and made mashed potatoes. Each household contributed to the feast.

As it turns out, we had a dusting of snow
on Monday before Thanksgiving.
The mountains in the background got more!
While the women fussed over the food preparations in the kitchen, the men gathered in the “front room” to watch American college football on the small television. We children played with toys on the floor or poured over Sears catalogues to choose what we wanted for Christmas.

Generally speaking, we expected our first light snow around Thanksgiving. The major chores of the fall season were complete and Thanksgiving was about the right time to open some of the treats canned from the garden. Sweet pickles, beets, green beans and the like. And of course there were pies. Apple pies, pumpkin pies. Cold pies, hot pies.

This year I am in Kosovo.  There is a chill in the air and American families living here are busy assembling the makings of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Invitations have been extended for friends, families, and coworkers to attend gatherings around the city.

I’m trying to find everything I need to make my roasted vegetable recipe. My search has been hampered by the language barrier to a degree. Imagine three middle-aged American women standing in the spice aisle saying, “It kind of looks like thyme…can someone Google  ‘majcina dusica usitnjena’ for me?” And of course I needed a butternut squash…which I couldn’t find. I mentioned it to my friend who just happened to have one! 

My family is meeting in my house in Ohio for Thanksgiving. My mother will help with the turkey. My daughters and their families will gather together, bringing their specialty foods. The men will likely watch football and the children will play on the floor. With luck, I’ll be in the mix via Skype. But even if that doesn’t work out, I’m thankful.

I’m thankful my family is together. I treasure their love and support.

I’m thankful I’ve been “adopted” by so many precious people here in Kosovo and will spend Thanksgiving with some of them.

I’m thankful for the opportunity God has given me to teach fourth grade at Prishtina High School.

I’m thankful that unlike the Pilgrims of 1620, I have a warm, comfortable apartment to see me through the winter instead of struggling with makeshift quarters.

I’m thankful that just as the Pilgrims had Squanto to guide them through the raising of corn and other foods in the area, I have friends willing to help me figure out seasonings in a foreign language in the middle of the market.

Finding that squash? I'm truly grateful!

And there is this...I am thankful for readers like you...so I share with you my mantra: Live Knowing You Are Loved. Happy Thanksgiving!



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