Our second Thanksgiving took place yesterday afternoon and evening. Pre-Covid, our language school had a habit of hosting a cross-cultural Thanksgiving experience for their students. This year, they expected 120 people to attend to learn about American Thanksgiving and get a small taste of traditional American Thanksgiving food.
At least as close to traditional American Thanksgiving food as you can get in Indonesia!
We told the owners we wanted to help. We were privileged to cook half the chicken served to the guests, which took about four hours or so to cook in batches on Tuesday. We also made bread stuffing for 120 people. Alec & Caedmon were fantastic in cutting up all the celery and onions on Monday as well as shredding the bread. Coca-Cola may or may not have been used as an incentive – or at least to provide an energy boost!
My task? To try and find sage. They have sage in Indonesia (but pronounce it saw-geh), but it’s not very common. It took five different visits to various stores and markets in order to locate enough of it. But eventually – success!
I bought all they had of it (in addition to some black pepper) and was able to finalize the stuffing Monday night. It went into ten bread loaf-sized baking pans covered with foil, ready to be heated through Tuesday afternoon before the event.
In Indonesia we are learning, parties don’t just happen. They are events that require planning and structure. Indonesians like to be guided and told what to do in these sorts of events, rather than just stand around and talk until dinner’s ready. So there was a full agenda of activities before the meal. There were two emcees who guided us all through a series of games, ice breakers, information sharing (our family got to share about our Thanksgiving traditions), songs, dances, and finally dinner.
Alec joined two other ex-pats to lead a rousing round of “Country Roads”, a song whose international appeal continues to baffle me. Our family was asked to share a bit about our Thanksgiving traditions, which gave me the opportunity as well to talk about the roots of this holiday in thanksgiving first and foremost to our God for his generous provision in his Son Jesus.
It was an enjoyable but somewhat exhausting evening, and a fascinating further glimpse into Indonesian culture.