Thursday, November 26, 2009

Feliz Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving)

Feliz Thanksgiving everyone! My Thanksgiving was action-packed, although it included noooo turkey. Shame.
I started my Thanksgiving out on Wednesday night, when my friend Madeline and I stayed up until 1am baking apple pies. With two pies worth of apples, I became an expert apple slicer! Madeline took over the crust-making and together we made a good team. We didn't have a pie pan, so instead baked the pies in this clay pot that is almost the size of a 9'' pie worked fine! I had never made a pie before, so it seemed odd to be making my first one in Spain, where basically no one even eats pie! I didn't miss the most important part though...the carving of the letter on the top of the pie. Normally you would put an A on the pie for apple, but since I am in Spain, I carved an M for manzana!

One pie went to my classroom and the other to the Thanksgiving dinner celebration I had with friends. The first pie was part of a presentation that I put on about Thanksgiving in America. In our Spanish class, on of our tasks is to present something special about your culture to the class. I decided on Thanksgiving and really tried to bring it to life! The presentation lasted about an hour...all in Spanish! I started out with the history of leaving English because of the religious persecution and then how the first celebration was more of a harvest festival and a thank you to God and the Indians that helped the pilgrims (peregrinos) survive the first though winter. Next, I presented what we normally have for Thanksgiving dinner...of course emphasizing the turkey! I had printed out some photos of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. The pictures were helpful when trying to describe what a marshallow (malvavisco) or cranberries (arádano) were. Try it...try explaining what a marshallow or a cranberry is in a different language - it's a challenge! This is where I busted out the pie and gave a plate of pie to everyone to enjoy some American goodness. It was a hit! I even had made a handout with the recipe on it in Spanish and gave it to a bunch of people who were interested in how to make thier own apple pies. Next on my Thanksgiving agenda was the other events that take place - Macy's Day Parade (desfile), Football games and Black Friday (Viernes Negro). People seemed to be amazed at the Macy's Parade and the fact that I had been to it before and brought photos, and I took some time to explain the meaning of Black Friday. Last but not least was arts & crafts turkeys. I had taken the time to make the turkeys...little feet and all, and brought feathers for people to write what they were thankful for on them. I told them that normally at Thanksgiving we each say something we are thankful for - and in Spanish it translates to 'Estoy agradecida por...'. My example was 'Estoy agradecida por la oportunidad a vivir en España'. Did you understand it?! I'm thankful for the opportunity to live in Spain! At the end of class, I asked if I could take a picture with everyone - saying that since my family will all be together for Turkey Day and I won't be there, I woudl like to show them what I did on my Thanksgiving. One classmate was so sad that I wasn't with my family that she started crying and said that she was happy she could spend such a special holiday with me. So sweet. In the end it was a GREAT presentation and I was really happy to teach people something special about America although it wasn't the same as having dinner with my family.

After class I rushed off to work. We aren't doing any Thanksgiving activities this week here because we are in the midst of watching movies. I am watching all British movies with my older kids - Billy Elliot, Love Actually and The Last King of Scotland. With the little kids, since they have seen all of the children's movies we have at the school, I bought Robin Hood, which I haven't seen in atleast 10 years. Watching it now I realize everyone has a British accent! While I love the movie, I am watching it with 6 different groups, so so far this week I have seen the first 25 minutes of Robin Hood 6 times. Woo hoo! Hahaha! Most of the kids haven't seen the Disney Classics so they are enchanted with the old movie as much as I am.

To top of my Thanksgiving, of course there was food. Heather, my American friend, hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at her house. She lives with about 7 other people - all from different nationalities. There were only 3 Americans and we did our best to show them a fabulous first Thanksgiving with sweet potatoes, stuffing, apple pie (thank you very much), mac and cheese, potatoes and gravy and more!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!


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