Well, it’s been a while since I wrote last and the truth is, for a while anyway, inspiration left me. I wasn’t painting, drawing (doodling in class does not count), or really doing anything creative at all. My sketchbook is nearly empty and at times I feared I would never have a muse again. But, anyway, this post isn’t about my lack of creative endeavor. It’s about how a group of erasmus/exchange students met in my apartment for a Thanksgiving that I will remember for a lifetime.
The planning started indirectly a couple months ago. Anyone who knows me understands that I thrive on organizing groups and events. I love to find any reason to create a gathering. So a couple months ago while I was sitting around with some Americans we tossed out the idea of having a Thanksgiving dinner and I immediately knew that I wanted to host.
A few weeks ago the real planning began. (Shout out to everyone who dealt with me.) We quickly developed the menu, organized a group almost 40 strong on Facebook, and started the seemingly impossible task of finding a Turkey without its head and feet still attached. The Americans were amazing–go team!–they quickly rallied together and started swapping ideas, recipes, and solutions to the selections in Spain’s supermarkets.
(The Americans minus a few)
The day of was hectic. Because I don’t have an oven, Kaitie and I had to walk the 20 lbs turkey 15 minutes down the road to a friends house at 8 am, season the bird, make the stuffing and then proceed to explain to this Italian man in spanish how to maintain the moisture level of the bird. Then we had to run back to my place, clean, set-up and prepare my apartment for the onslaught scheduled to arrive at 2 pm.
This is where Martina (a girl from Slovakia) and Juliette (a girl from Paris) come into play. They are two of the greatest friends I have had the pleasure of meeting and they both insisted on waking up, going to the grocery store for more supplies, and being to my house by 10 am. They then helped with everything. (During the party they were also helping to serve everyone, keep up with trash and maintain the general sanity)
I must say, the party was a success! I was nervous and stressed by the amount of people scheduled to show up, but in the end this was by far the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. Not just because we are in Spain or because the food was really good (absolutely amazing!!) but because of the people who came.
You see, Americans are stingy and greedy. It’s a stereotype I typically believe to be true and I myself am an American. Of course stereotypes don’t hold true in every circumstance and the Americans here with me in Spain definitely do not have those characteristics. However, I was more enchanted by those from different countries. I was receiving texts, messages, and emails about Thanksgiving from them some weeks in advance. They all wanted to cook and to bring food and to share. I didn’t know what to do. How could 40 people be so eager to share?
Finally, we ended up with a Thanksgiving feast better than some I’ve had in the U.S. complete with a mountain of alcohol (this is Spain after all) and homemade desserts. At one point, while waiting for the mac&cheese and the mashed potatoes to arrive, I thought I was going to be mobbed by people waiting to eat. The excitement in the room, the laughter and the smiles and the general sense of one big, mismatched family made me want to cry a few times. In my overly dramatic mind, I thought of myself as some Thanksgiving army commander and we were celebrating some long, drawn-out battle. Yes, I’m weird I know.
So why am I writing all this? Because during those 5 hours filled with laughter and friendship I had an epiphany. I’ve said before that one of my biggest goals in life, one of the purposes I feel like I have here on earth is to bring laughter into the lives of others, but yesterday, I realized more.
We were all from different religions, ethnicities and countries but every single person there was so eager to learn about the customs and traditions of the person next to them. There was no judgement, no superiority complex. That is the type of world that I want to live in and it is most definitely possible. Maybe it just takes some turkey and a piso in Spain.