I've been back in Philadelphia for just about two weeks now and I'm finally getting around to posting some stories from here. As I write this, it's like 65 degrees Fahrenheit (17C) outside, which is verrrry unusual but also verrrry nice after living in that frozen land called Germany!
Anyway, Thanksgiving (or a link to a less traditional one) was a week ago Thursday and it began like it does every year - with eggnog in my coffee (thanks dad!) and the MASSIVE Thanksgiving day newspaper. I had paper routes for about five or six years during grade school and high school and always dreaded Thanksgiving because of how big and heavy the papers were. Thanksgiving 2012's paper:
If you've ever wondered if Americans are truly consumer oriented, look no farther than the contents of the day's paper. The local newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, had at least 58 (!!!) pull-out color advertisements in addition to the regular ads that appear throughout the paper. Most of them advertised Black Friday specials, which this year started at like 8pm on Thanksgiving night. They're not even waiting for midnight on Black Friday anymore. Yes, I think it's crazy and, yes, people in the United States love love love to shop. Baseball may used to have been the most popular pastime but today it's shopping.
As in prior years, dinner was at my cousin Mike's house. He's got the biggest house in the family and the party is able to spread over two floors. I love being in town for Thanksgiving as it's basically the only time during the year when my entire family gets together in one place. I think the thing that amazed me most this year is how crazy big all the "kids" in the family are. There are "kids" that will be in university in September! Damn, I'm getting O.L.D.!!!
The kitchen during the dinner rush:
I had promised Berat, my roommate from Stuttgart, that I'd take a photo of the turkey and send it to him so that he could see what a real cooked one looks like. Unfortunately, the turkey had already been cut before I ever had the chance to take a photo so I snapped one of my dinner plate instead. Just in case, clockwise from the top (12 o'clock), there's: stuffing, hot macaroni and cheese, (half of) a biscuit, ham (6 o'clock), sweet potatoes, and some turkey with the light meat to the left and dark meat towards the center, cranberry sauce (back up near the stuffing), and some mashed potatoes taking center stage:
Oh, and Thanksgiving dinner, and the similar Christmas dinner, is my favorite meal ever. Wawa has a sandwich that's called the Turkey Gobbler, which has turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and gravy, that I just can't get enough of. I've already eaten three and might go for another today!
Something that I've wanted to do for a few years is take an extended-family photo so I decided that this was the year. My dad's got my sister's, brother's, and my wedding photos hanging up in the living room of his house and the photo from my sister's wedding from like 13 years ago is really the last photo where everyone in the family is present. It was time for a new one. I warned people when I arrived that we'd be doing the photo and they seemed game. Believe it or not, it only took about five minutes of being "Mr. Pushy" to get everyone outside and smiling with the nice photo below being the result:
Just a quick note that missing were Diana (she's in Colombia) and my one cousin and his wife and two kids so I'll have to try again next time.
Oh, and I pretty much was immobilized by the quantity of food that I ate that night. I remember going to bed thinking that I just can't ever do that again. And, my diet should start the next day. You know the drill, right?
The next morning I was driving through my dad's neighborhood and came across a flock of wild turkeys walking down the street. Okay, a couple of things. First, I had no idea that my dad (and sister, who lives nearby) had wild turkeys for neighbors. There were at least six of them and they were giant - it was a f'n trippy sight to see. Next, I'm wondering if they were out celebrating that they made it through another Thanksgiving? Possibly. Of course, there's always Christmas!!! [cue: evil laughing] Hahahahahahahahaha!
Later that evening we went to meet up with a couple of relatives from my dad's side of the family who he hadn't seen in over FORTY years (and I didn't even know about)! My dad's an only child and, for the most part, our "family" is made up of folks from my mom's side. My brother, sister, and I were excited to finally meet some more peeps from the other side. From left, my brother, my dad's cousin's husband, my dad's cousin, their daughter, my dad (partially blocked), Ginny, the most beautiful guy in the world (cough, cough), and my sister:
Another note: I ate waaaaay too much that night too. The pumpkin-pie martinis and extensive bar-food menu were just too much to resist. It was another super uncomfortable night of sleeping! So much for never again...
Can I just say how nice it is to be back home? Family, fun, and FOOD! What could be better? Now to get outside to enjoy the amazing weather!