A week from today is Thanksgiving in the US. I specify, because I know many of you who read this blog live other parts of this little world of ours. Based on the magic of Google Analytics I know there are regular readers in Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, England, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Korea, Taiwan, Russia…and a few more countries I can’t remember off hand. That never ceases to amaze me!
Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays. I associate it more with stress than appreciation. I don’t have many Thanksgiving specific memories, mostly they all just blur together into one large holiday jumble, but I do have one, and it is one of the best nights of my life…
My favorite Thanksgiving was one I spent away from my family. On this particular Thanksgiving in 2001, two of my closest college friends and I were travelling through Italy.
On the days leading up to “Turkey Day” we gallivanted around the island of Ischia. Ischia is known for it’s fruit and we decided we were only going to eat fruit until we left for Rome on Thanksgiving Day.
Maybe not the best idea because after two days we were CRANKY. Once in Rome we decided to hop on the Subway and ended up roaming the streets in front of the Colosseum. Sure, it was closed but it was still beautiful! How amazing it was to just walk around such a majestic piece of history so casually. We stopped in to the art museum to check out a Klimt exhibit, he happens to be my favorite artist, and I didn’t get to see any of his work when I was in Austria a few weeks earlier. The night was starting to feel like it was molded just for me.
After oggling some art and many of the stray cats chillaxing in the ruins of the Colloseum we wandered into a tiny Trattoria where the owner proceeded to fill us with wine, and plate after plate of delicious food, all while serenading us.
After months of sleeping on trains and in hostels, a friend of ours back in Boston had surprised us with a suite at the Intercontinental Hotel at the top of the Spanish Steps where we somehow found our way back to, and I proceeded to call my parents to wish them a happy Thanksgiving.
Now, I was 18, and not old enough to drink in the US, but certainly old enough in Europe, my parents thought this was hilarious. They proceeded to put my inebriated teenage self on speaker phone so that all the family could hear me hiccup my salutations.
That year was a rough year. I left Logan Airport in Boston on September 8, 2001, to study abroad in the Netherlands. Three days later was September 11th. It was our first day of class, and we were pulled out of class to watch CNN in a common room. For days the phone lines were tied up and we couldn’t reach the United States. While I was living abroad the political climate changed quite a bit. The world seemed to go from from stunned, to supportive, to skeptical. It was a very interesting time to be an American abroad. Thanksgiving wasn’t so long after the 9-11 attacks, we were more homesick than we most likely would have been, more scared of the world in general, but that night was magical and it was surely one I still give thanks for.
Side note: I mostly navigated Italy by knowing the words for for “where” and “left.” I knew if whom ever I was asking directions didn’t say “sinistra” what ever it was I was trying to get to was somewhere to the right.
Do you have an special Thanksgiving memories?
Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Banana, Soy milk
What was labelled as “herb roasted chicken” turned out to be lamb!
So not what I wanted. Lunch ended up being mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts.
I must say Whole Foods has great Twitter service. I tweeted the issue and they were on it; contacting the store and offering me a refund! Oh Twitter, how you’ve changed the world of modern customer service.
In honor of my story I made pasta for dinner.
Brown rice pasta with spinach, scallops, garlic and olive oil. Yum!
I also had a glass of wine. I might have a crush on the guy at the wine shop. But, I can really only go there once a week to flirt without looking like an alcoholic. Hmmm, dilemmas.