This is a post that I wrote a year ago when we were in Alhama de Granada, España. I didn’t finish it until well after Thanksgiving so I thought I’d just wait a year…
In our little village, Alhama de Granada, we are the only Americans in town. There is one Canadian and several other European expats but we are the lone Americans. But… outside of town live Michelle, Eric and Barbara who are Americans with whom we instantly felt at home.
Although they hardly knew us, Michelle and Eric invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them. They promised turkey, stuffing and football. How could we refuse?
Of course Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Spain but it is the one holiday that seems to inspire some homesickness for me. It is not about the food, most of my Thanksgiving memories involve my grandmother making a special dish just for my cousin and me. We are both vegetarians and being from Illinois, that might just mean that we are mutants. Maybe it is a recessive trait but for a family of farmers from Illinois, vegetarians are about as rare as they are in Spain. Anyway, Grandma Ann always made an mushy eggplant and velvetta dish for my cousin Lindsey and me. At the time it wasn’t my favorite but here in Spain I found myself longing for it in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. No, Thanksgiving is not about the food and certainly for me it is not about the football. It is about it being an American holiday. It is about being in a place where you feel completely comfortable and belonging. I am enjoying this year abroad and we have glimpses of belonging amoungst our new friends. However, there is nothing is more homey than Thanksgiving on the farm with family.
Michelle and Eric live in a very cool cottage near the village of Santa Cruz de Comercio. Michelle is a writer and Eric is a musician. They are also runners so we were instant friends with that alone in common. Eric also stars in one of my previous posts: Team Kezmoh Runs to Nerja. Michelle, Eric and Barbara along with our friend Paul Bateson put on 2 amazing trail races near Alhama de Granada: Ultima Frontera which I ran and wrote a post about in October: Ultima Frontera Race report. The other race is in July. It is called Al Andalus Ultimate Trail . It is a 5 day 230 km stage race based in and around Alhama de Granada. Sadly we will be back in California by then so we will miss the fun. Anyone interested in running with me in 2015?
We arrived armed with a big bowl of sweet potatoes and empty tummies.
Our new friends welcomed us with hugs and kisses. They introduced us to Alina and Lawerence Strong who were strangers to us then but have become like family to us in the past months since we met them on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving 2013 fell on the first day of Hanukkah so our first course was a delicious matzo ball soup. Michelle read a blessing and lit a candle.
We sipped Spanish wine, and ate turkey that had to be ordered specially because it is not normally sold in local stores.
We enjoyed the food and the conversation.
After dinner Sky and Savannah pulled out their iPads and the boys enjoyed some American football.
We spent the day with our new friends and felt like we were beginning to have a family here in Spain. A year later I looked back at these pictures and felt Thankful for friends and family both here in California and across the pond.