Elora Herberick, 127
Thanksgiving is a smorgasbord, of food of course, but of family ties and traditions as well. Every family and Thanksgiving Day celebration is different; we all have our unique quips, awkward questions that you silently scream at, and of course that celebrated pie recipe that you could care less about, unless the recipe has whipped cream piled a mile high paired with a personal engraved fork just for you.
I feel like every day is like Thanksgiving here in Thailand, in the most layman’s terms…we eat a lot. However, for Americans it’s that special turning point of the upcoming holiday season, it’s when we don’t seem as bothered that the CVS has been decorated for Christmas since Halloween, we can wear baggy sweaters, leggings, and boots all the time and look totally stylish as we stuff our face full of Christmas cookies and red wine; It’s the day before Black Friday, which has become somewhat of a ‘consumerist holiday’ on its own, I mean my best friend just got a Crockpot for eight dollars, EIGHT DOLLARS! That’s unbelievable. Anyways, Thanksgiving is a wonderful day, that which I cherish greatly for the family, the food, the endless ‘Cards Against Humanity’ games and that flawless wine buzz that accompanies my ever perfected three hour turkey coma.
Since I could not be home for this thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to do a side by side, to describe my typical Thanksgiving Day back in the States and compare it to what I experienced here.
Here goes nothing…
It’s 10am on a sunny, yet brisk November morning. The sound of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade plays in the background as family coming from near and far scurry into the kitchen of my Aunt and Uncles’ New Jersey home. I mosey on through the kitchen saying my hellos and scoping out the wide array of appetizers on my way to the bathroom to change into my uber cute holiday get up. I can practically taste the bacon wrapped scallops as I weave my way towards the feasting arena.
It’s 10am on a sunny, hot November morning. The sound of marching bands play in the background as myself and the teachers from my school walk with our students to the center of a futbol field. Our students are dressed in either matching sports gear, marching band outfits or as for three Mateome students, Cowgirl Cabaret uniforms with faces caked with enough makeup that I can barely recognize them, and our leader, another Mateome girl who is dressed in traditional Thai beauty queen material and five inch heels. I stare in amazement as I try not to trip over my sandals…I feel a headache coming on.
We sit down in our assigned seating as children roam around the designated kids table and the adults refill their bottomless wine glasses. I snuggle in next to my boyfriend and await my turn to fill my plate. Once we are sufficiently full and the chatter has died down to a dull roar, the kids, and I refer to kids as anyone under 30, head to the basement to play pool, various video games, and drinking games as the older folk tend to sprawl out on the sectional couch and Lazyboy with whatever football game on TV, snoring loud enough that the referees can hear them.
I’m all sorts of pissed because my mild headache has reached throbbing levels as Sports Day is under way and my school is in charge of the volleyball court. My eyes follow kids tracking from point A to point B and back again running strictly off of sugar prompted energy. My paw-aw thankfully allows me to head back home after some convincing, so I am no longer subject to such exhaustion.
The three hour Turkey induced coma commences.
The three hour headache induced coma commences.
I awake refreshed to find dessert waiting for me and the rest of the family in all shapes and sizes. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, raspberry tart, Bailey’s coffee, more red wine, you name it we got it. I talk of my dreams to open a taco truck and travel the globe selling god’s greatest creation. Soon after, I am laying down moaning from stomach indigestion as a pack of dogs attack me with kisses.
I awake refreshed to find an empty house, as my host family is out tending to the peppers and rice. I do a little happy twerk/dance to Justin Biebers’ ‘Sorry’(yeah, I said it) as my host families dog jumps on me. He is totally humping me but I’m like, “Wow, he’s really getting down to JB”. When I realize I am being accosted, I make my way to the kitchen happily because I can finally make my No-bake Pumpkin Cheesecake in peace; which I think will make today feel a little more like Turkey day. I get my ingredients ready that I purchased the previous week at Tesco Lotus, only to find that crushing cinnamon sticks into ground cinnamon is a task saved for the HULK SMASH and like people who want to spend hours working with a mortar and pestle. Aka…not me. The rest of the recipe worked out smoothly, but it just had a little crunch in every bite….hmmm yum.
Around 7pm, the whole family is reborn and on the hunt for my Uncle Bob’s famous Turkey sandwiches. We gather round the dining room table and I whip out my all-time favorite card game, ‘Cards Against Humanity’. We play for hours, laughing at the stupid and totally inappropriate answers coming from my grandmothers’ mouth…she wins every time.
Around 6pm, we settle on the floor in front of the TV for dinner. The usual Thai soap opera chimes as I fill my plate with a mountain of rice. My mom isn’t about the “American Style” green beans I made, so I basically eat them all (I ain’t mad). I simultaneously tell my host family about Thanksgiving and how we celebrate it in the States. I guess repetitively saying “Wan Kob Khun (Thank you day)” and “Lao Gin YUT (We eat A LOT)” doesn’t do the day justice. I try to persuade my fam to try my pumpkin cheesecake to no avail.
And although I was the only one to eat that pumpkin cheesecake, which still sits in the refrigerator waiting for love and attention, my Thai Thanksgiving was uniquely mine. It sure wasn’t perfect and I really missed my home, but I made it what I could, plus I still got in my three hour nap, so that’s a win in my book!
I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving experiences in Thailand! Please comment below about your likes and dislikes!