Thanksgiving was about one week ago, and what a celebration we had! Sure, we all missed our families, the homesickness definitely amps up around the holidays, but there is something special about sharing Thanksgiving traditions with new friends. Not only did we get to share our family traditions with each other, but we got to share them with a few people who had never celebrated Thanksgiving before.
When the day rolled around, we were down one American from our crew but up by two new Americans. Mark was in London visiting his sister, and had his own Thanksgiving adventure. The rest of us were joined by Ryan’s girlfriend, Kristin, and also Nancy Tuchman, the Director of our Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola. The six of us Americans got to prepare dinner to share with our German and Swedish friends Philip, the Director of the Newman Institute, Ruth, and Malin. Having Nancy and Kristin around was a blast. Kristin lead the charge on the turkey, and Nancy was there to make sure we didn’t screw anything up too badly, since for all of us besides her it was our first Thanksgiving we had ever really prepared.
The day started with one of Olivia’s traditions: a Thanksgiving morning run. We ran not too far down the forest road behind Länna, and then headed home to start all the preparations. Since Thanksgiving is not a celebration in Sweden, we had had some trouble finding a few key ingredients, and were forced to make everything from scratch, which was actually quite fun. Turns out stuffing is actually really easy, even if you have to make your own bread cubes! We had the usual Thanksgiving turkey scramble to get it in the oven on time, but it turned out to be a beautiful and well-cooked bird. Our table kept becoming more stunning as we brought out dish after dish, and by the time we sat down to eat, it was a beautiful and colorful table. The food was fantastic and we all ate way too much. We assured our non-American friends that, yes, your stomach is supposed to feel like it is going to explode. Of course we also had to have dessert, and we didn’t disappoint on a wide selection. We had pumpkin pie, pecan pie, chocolate mousse, and ice cream with a traditional Swedish berry sauce. They were all fantastic, even if the pecan pie was a bit tricky to get out of the pan!
All in all, it was a great day. There were lots of laughs and stories around the table, and even though we celebrated in a farm house in Sweden with friends instead of family, it felt just like home!