For example, until I was 3/4 done shopping for my apple crisp recipe I wanted to make, I didn't know that oatmeal doesn't exist in Spain. Luckily the worker at Día pointed me toward Muesli, which after I picked all of the banana chips out of, worked perfectly.
As for a second example, Eli and I bought a bag of rolls (because what is Thanksgiving without the rolls...) and then promptly forgot about them until we were cleaning up after dinner. Oops. Who does that? Seriously.
Delicious cranberry-apple crisp, made with Muesli instead of oatmeal & craisins instead of cranberries.
And now for the most prominent example of why this was definitely not an American Thanksgiving: Eli's roommate Fatima is Moroccan. And since she was going to be eating dinner with her, Eli wanted to first make sure that she would be able to eat everything we were making. Fatima said yes, she could eat chicken, but only ones that had been sacrificed to God before they were killed. So Thursday morning off they went to the Muslim Meat Market. (We had chicken instead of turkey cause it's cheaper and much easier to find.)
There were a few rough spots, such as when Eli's Chinese roommate told us, at 10pm, "Sorry but I have a test next Tuesday and you all need to leave now, sorry, but you need to leave". (Nevermind that it was Thursday and the test wasn't until Tuesday and tonight was ONE OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT HOLIDAYS and we were definitely not going to leave the house before we'd eaten the food we had just spent 7 hours cooking...).
I'm cooking!! Okay, well actually baking, but still. This is a landmark moment for me.
Aside from that and a few people not showing up, it was really successful. I had an auxiliar from Arcos de la Frontera, Chelsea, couchsurfing for the night. Arcos is one of the 'pueblos blancos' that Andalucía is famous for. For those of you who haven't heard of couchsurfing you can check it out here. This was my first experience hosting someone, but it was definitely positive and I can't wait to do it again!
Arcos de la Frontera
Here are some highlights of the night.
Eli - *humming to music and casually cleaning one of the chickens in the sink* *then she gagged a little* "Ohhh, I am not mature enough for this!"
Me - "what happened?"
Eli - "I was pouring water in through the neck to clean it out and it came out through the butt. Not mature enough for that."
Me - * Trying to take a picture of the chickens to show how perfectly they had been cooked* "Ew, that looks gross. These chickens are not photogenic."
Chelsea - "Dead chickens usually aren't."
Me - "............Touché."
The 'unphotogenic' chickens
Cassidy was making deviled eggs and asked Eli if she thought there was enough salt in them. Eli said "You can always add more salt" without stopping to taste-test it first. Cassidy - "uhh...okay if you're sure." Result = like licking a salt block.
Chelsea and I went to the store to get more wine. I grabbed 3 boxes of Don Simón vino tinto (red wine) and set them on the counter. The lady at the cash register pointed to the tinto part and said, in Spanish, "You know this is wine right?" Hahaha thank you for the clarification, 'cause I thought I was buying juice!
Eli - *a moment of dead silence at dinner and then Eli's voice* "We can make soup from the CARCASSES!"
Everybody else - "What?? That was creepy!"
Cassidy, Eli, Fatima
Showing off my delicious Thanksgiving-looking plate.
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'll end this post with things I am thankful for:
I am thankful that I've met such wonderful people in Spain. The people you meet can make or break your experience, and luckily I've made some great friends since I've been here!
Chelsea, Cassidy, me, Eli
I am thankful for Matt, the best boyfriend a girl could ask for (:
At a Brewers game last summer.
I'm thankful for my family. (Duh.) I love them, even though they drive me crazy sometimes.
Family Reunion Summer '11
And I am thankful that I am able to have this amazing experience of living in a foreign country for a year. I've only been here 2 months and already had more adventures than I thought I would, and I still have 6 months left!