We obviously don’t have Thanksgiving here in Spain. After all, last I checked, the Spaniards had nothing to do with settling in America… oh well, they did have Christopher Columbus who discovered America. But I guess that doesn’t count. Anyways, Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here and I don’t expect it will be.
However, that doesn’t mean we don’t still celebrate. Just a little differently. First off, we don’t do it on Thursday. The kids have school and Josh has work, this year in Amsterdam so it’s not even like he’s close enough to celebrate in the evening. Regardless, we shift our Thanksgiving to the Saturday after – my thought is that it shouldn’t matter when we celebrate a day of giving thanks as long as we do it!
The bonus about doing Thanksgiving in Barcelona is that everything is open the day of our celebration so if we forget something, we can go get it. Though these days, that still seems to be the trend in the US unfortunately. Don’t even get me started on Black Friday this year, it’s a disgrace.
Anyways, I ordered our turkeys a week before we needed them. I go the same chicken/turkey lady each year. The process seems to get easier and easier each year. The first year was all about describing that I want this huge bird and I want it without a head, without feathers and totally cleaned. The second year was a bit easier though she was confused on the dates as she didn’t realize that the date changes each year. This year, it took me about 30 seconds – how big? how many? Done. Put down my 10 euro deposit and off I went.
On the Friday before our big day, we did all our prep. We ran errands which included picking up our very fresh 10 lb turkeys. Why not get a 20 lb one and get it over with? Well, because the ovens here can’t fit them and nor can our grill which is how we prepare them. So two turkeys it is. I had taken Janice and Richard to La Boqueria which is the largest open market in Barcelona but we hadn’t made any purchases so it was fun to take them to our local market where they could see the turkey lady plucking the last of the feathers off our freshly killed turkeys. And then head over to the cheese/meat kiosk to get all our cured meats and cheeses – that alone was about 30 mins!!
After doing some baking and cooking when we got home, we were pretty much set for Saturday. All the big things were done or started so we wouldn’t have to rush on Saturday morning (or get up at the crack of dawn). The kids still had their tennis lessons so we chauffeured them back and forth in between the last of our preparations for the fiesta starts at 2!
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving here is that with no family close by (though this year my aunt and uncle are here!), we’ve had to “create” our family. And while I certainly love my family and look forward to Thanksgiving each year, there is something about getting to choose who we celebrate with that makes it a little different and special. That we have people here that have become our surrogate family with whom we share this special day. They come from all walks of life – some are friends from Josh’s work, some from school and some are friends that we’ve made in our 4 years of living here in Barcelona. It’s a nice mix.
And for that I’m thankful. We are incredibly lucky to have this life and we fully recognize that. While this year’s Thanksgiving wasn’t the all nighter of 2012, we still had a great time. The weather was unseasonably cold (but don’t worry, we’ve gone back up to the upper 50s ;)) so we had to stay inside unlike last year where we ate dinner up on the roof. Thankfully we’ve got a decent sized living room and were able to squish everyone in.
We included some of Aidan’s friends this year as well. It meant a lot to him to have a few buddies as he always ends up the token big kid at these kind of events and it’s not his favorite role to play. However, on the flip side, in an intense game of hide and seek with his friends, he came across his Christmas presents – a wii u more specifically. Ok, I’m not so thankful for that part. Oh and the part where he told Liam what he found.
But anyways, Josh had such rave reviews last year about his grilled turkey that he decided this year to not just grill one turkey but both (last year one was in the oven). Once again they were a big hit. We had more food than we knew what to do with. One of my Spanish friends just can’t understand why we end up with so much food and I tried to explain to him that that is just Thanksgiving – lots and lots of food, Macys Thanksgiving Day parade, football and a turkey coma. It’s part of the appeal.
Once again it was a great mix of friends and family. Some new friends, some I hadn’t even met before that day. And others friends since we got here. It was a great group with lots of camaraderie and I couldn’t be more thankful than to have each and every one of them in our lives.