Living overseas you know things will be different. You don’t always know which things or how they’ll differ, but you know in a general way life is going to be different. One of the more obvious differences is holidays. Each country and culture celebrates their own holidays. Some overlap, others don’t.
Thanksgiving is one that more often than not does not overlap.
It’s a distinctly American holiday from a fairly distinct American context. And while there are other countries that have a similar thing, ours is, for better or worse, distinguished almost as much by the food associated with the day than the other customs and enjoyments – even family. If you have traditional American Thanksgiving food but don’t have family, you can still sorta fake Thanksgiving. But even if you have family, if you don’t have traditional American Thanksgiving food, it’s really hard to think of it as Thanksgiving no matter how glad you are to see people.
Turkey is not a thing in Indonesia, so we didn’t expect to have that. Although I was able to locate a frozen turkey at a specialty import store, the price was more than prohibitive (roughly $6.50/pound for a 12-ish pound turkey!). Aside from that, we anticipate two separate Thanksgiving celebrations instead of one, which is another change.
Our first was last night. Gena found someone through Facebook searching for other American ex-pats in Medan who might want to gather for Thanksgiving. What it ended up being was a fairly American Thanksgiving (sans Turkey) with about a dozen Mormons and sundry offspring. Roast chicken subbed in for roast Turkey, and we made traditional bread stuffing, and there was mashed potatoes and yams and a variety of desserts as well.
Not a bad spread!
Everyone was very welcoming and we were even able to talk a bit of theology. Talking theology with Mormon missionaries has been a hobby of mine for decades. I exchanged WhatsApp numbers with one of them and we agreed to meet together to talk more about theology. That should be fun!
Our hosts were working with the US Consulate in Medan. His job is overseeing the construction of consulate rehab or new building. It was a great opportunity to meet new people in Medan not associated with our language school. Extending our network of contacts is essential as ex-pats come and go frequently overseas (foreign service workers generally are only in a location for 2-3 years, for example). Plus, the more people we meet the more opportunities we have to meet locals as well. The Holy Spirit is remarkably creative in his methods, and we try to remain as flexible as possible.
Alec and Mika opted out of the event as they had just returned from a weekend trip with friends. But I think Caedmon enjoyed meeting some other guys and chatting with them. There may be a spikeball gathering in the near future for him!
One thought on “Thanksgiving I”
I so enjoy hearing the way God directs your steps. I find it amazing how He provides.
We have so much to be thankful for. Our Thanksgiving was nice. Our grandson smoked our turkey. I wish I could have sent some to you as it was wonderful!
We continue to hold you in prayer believing our Lord is with you directing and providing all you need.