Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Joyeaux Thanksgiving Americain!

So, here it is the morning of our favorite holiday, and we are 5700 miles from home. Living in Oregon, while both sides of our families reside in Michigan, has resulted in a tradition of inviting others like us who's families are elsewhere. To the Margulis's, Bollings (and Ken), Dreyers, and Cranes - we will miss you today, but hope you have a joyful day of celebration!

Normally, by this time I've put the turkey in the oven and we are happily cutting, chopping, and preparing all the courses to be served in about 6 hours, with our guests arriving in early afternoon. It is a day of ultimate relaxation and good cheer with none of the stresses of Noel such as decorations and gifts. Good conversation, great food and drink, the communal sharing of thanks and chores, and to keep us all from passing out, an evening of riotous games. We described a game we played last year (a drawing version of telephone) to our French friends who are coming today, and we all wondered how that would come off in French. Tina, you are the best memory keeper--didn't "the dog pooped in the yard" become "it will be a sad day when a donkey leaves the church of the bleeding cross"? We might skip that game today :)

Like normal, Lisa has already made her incredible apple pie (thanks Grandma GG!), and we are prepping for the meal. We will also continue the tradition of having each guest write down three things for which they are thankful, and before dinner we each pick one, read it, and guess who wrote it. The meal will be very typical with one glaring exception - no turkey! I went to 5 boucheries to no avail. Turkeys here are a Noel feast and getting one a month early proved impossible, so I bought two whole chickens instead. The other major difference is that it is not a holiday here, so Irie is in school right now. She talked us into letting her have the afternoon off so she can make decorations, but she will be back in school tomorrow morning. Lisa will miss performing with her hula group at Festival of Lights but will perform with her group here at a party on Saturday. A glaring difference for her will be not having to wear leggings or a turtleneck as part of her costume!

We are having our American friends, Michelle and Abbie, as well as the Brazzones (Laurent, Nathalie, Laure, and Fanny) for dinner so it will be a bilingual fête. Here's a little piece of history tying American Thanksgiving and the French together, that many of you probably don't know. Look for updates this evening including pictures.

UPDATE: The fête was fun! We spent all day preparing, just like at home.
We all wrote our thankful lists en français, the apple pie is gone, and we have leftovers for the next week. My favorite was probably the cornbread/blue chesse stuffing (see pics). The Brazzones really seemed to enjoy partage (sharing) in the first American Thanksgiving and everyone finally left about 10:30. Irie will be a tired school girl today. Thanks to Michelle for bringing ice cream, brioche, her large coffee pot, and taking some great pictures! Thanks to Nathalie for the chocolate cake! For me, yesterday FELT like a holiday, so we succeeded in bringing our favorite holiday to our adopted country.


Anonymous said...

Rick - Happy Thanksgiving to you, Lisa, and Irie. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Thanks for the history lesson. I had no idea that the French Calvinists settled in northern Florida. In our last family trip we travelled through each of the parts of Florida as described in the article.

This is strong lesson in why we should be thankful for the freedom we have in America and why we need to embrace our liberty and diversity.


Mom & Dad Browne said...

Happy Thanksgiving from the Browne side of the family.

Did not know about the French in Florida. Interesting.

Hope everything went well for you today as you continued your Thanksgiving tradition in a foreign land.

Dad & Mom

M. McKinney said...

Salut les copains!

I loved this post--Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as well. It sounds like you pulled off an excellent feast! I remember well my Thanksgiving abroad--I was lucky enough to find some turkey (but not A turkey) to make for my host family and friends. A friend and I wrote and performed a song for the guests called "Parce que nous sommes americains" that was a riot.

Rick: a student (whom you know) asked today what the French do for Thanksgiving...ummmm...I think the look on my face answered the question.

Great article, few people know of the French presence in the US before the arrival of the "pilgrims"; revisionist history (much as the story of Thanksgiving itself). For me, it's a day to enjoy exceptional food and friends.

I enjoy the frequency of your posts and am curious what gastronimical delights await you for Noel (Tete de veau was a bit of a shock for me)!

Love Peace and Thanks!

M. McKinney

Nathalie said...

Tout était parfait: la jolie décoration, l'accueil chaleureux et toutes ces bonnes choses que vous aviez préparées. Nous nous serions presque cru en Amérique!
J'ai adoré l'ambiance et l'esprit de Thanksgiving.Merci à vous de nous avoir fait partager cette fête avec vous.