Taknemmelig (Thankful)

On Thanksgiving, I think we felt truly homesick for the first time, as we longed to be surrounded by our extended family, sipping wine, chatting, watching the kids trash the house and grubbing on delicious food.  Our Thanksgiving Thursday passed like any ordinary Torturous Torsdag, with Danish class, school, work, ballet and a prayer of thanks over a frozen pizza dinner.

We were not going to let Brett’s favorite holiday pass without a huge dose of turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing and cranberry sauce.  So on Friday, I went shopping and found everything needed to make a Thanksgiving feast!  Saturday morning we were on Skype with our family and were about to get the cooking underway when we realized the sun was shinning. (Solen skinner!)  So we headed to Tivoli for an impromptu date with Julemand (Santa Clause).  Tivoli is decorated with a Russian theme for Christmas this year, so we also met a jolly character called Father Frost.

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We started cooking our feast in the afternoon.  This was the first time I had attempted to cook everything myself (with some help from my sous-chef) and although we didn’t cook a whole turkey, it was still a lot of food for our little family!   Brett was in charge of putting together a kolde bord (cold table) of appetizers and snacks (and shots of akvavit!), which is part of a traditional Danish Julefrokost (Christmas lunch).  We have been attempting to blend Danish and US traditions this holiday season, which has been fun.  Danes Love Christmas (with a capital “L”)!  I’m beginning to wonder if any other part of the world is more in love with this holiday than Scandinavia.  It is so fascinating to learn, and participate, in their Christmas.

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As we ate, we let all of our photos and videos run from our PC to our living room TV and our bellies and hearts were full.  Sometimes the photos make us a little homesick, but we know that is because we are so full of gratitude for the love and joy all of those memories bring.  After a few photos of her grandparents, Matea said, “I can’t stand it any more, I have to jump in the TV!”

A unique thing about being a foreigner in another country,  is that you can spend holidays with other expat friends, who are also without family for the holidays.  We are developing a bit of an extended family over here and we are so thankful for the wonderful people we have met so far in Denmark.  So, on Sunday night, we braved gale-force winds to travel to our friends’ cozy apartment, in the heart of Copenhagen, for a lovely “second Thanksgiving” dinner.

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Hope you had a great Thanksgiving too!

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