Sat 29 Nov 2008
Hello my faithful readers, if there are any of you who have not given up on me in the last year and a half.
I’m back in good old Deutschland for another 10 months – although with November all but gone, it’s down to only 7. To sum up the last three months in ____ words or less: Started teaching English at Clara-Grunwald-Grundschule in Kreuzberg; spent almost two frustrating months looking for an apartment and eventually contacted an old friend from my earlier Berlin stint and moved into his friend’s apartment in Friedrichshain. Having less than a week in between my summer job in New Mexico and my second Aufenthalt in Germanland was definitely not an easy transition, but after some rough weeks I am getting more and more certain that this is the place for me to be right now (which is saying something – the cold, miserable, depressing weather, which will only get worse before it gets better, is trying its hardest to effect the opposite.)
Anyway, my friend Laura and I decided last week that we should do something to celebrate Thanksgiving. Initially, I invited my friends Jen (from Dickinson, who lives in Genthin, Sachsen-Anhalt) and Christina (my roommate from our Teacher-Training conference in Altenberg in September); Laura invited a coworker and another American friend. We planned to each make a dish or two. Over the course of the week leading to the anticipated Thursday, a few more invitations were made.
We made trips to the KaDeWe and the Galeria Kaufhof to get certain coveted ingredients like Pumpkin Pie Mix and whole cranberries; I had NO luck finding a passable substitute for a pie plate. Ironically, after toiling away at a recipe for pie crust that was at least an inch thick when I put it in my glass container shaped nothing like a pie plate, I put my pie in the oven, only to have the doorbell ring – the postman was delivering a care package from my mother containing 2 cans of pumpkin, evaporated milk, pie crust mix, pie plates, pumpkin bread mix, chocolate chips, and a few other things.
Jen arrived early on Wednesday and the two of us went shopping and spent the rest of the day preparing for the guests who were to arrive at 7:30 – we were expecting no more than 6, total. She made a cheese and carrot casserole and an apple cake; I made my mom’s recipe for candied sweet potatoes, and we made some chicken breasts (turkey was just a bit of an überförderung considering the size of my oven and the other things we needed to make.) At 7:30 the first guest arrived, and after that they seemed to just keep coming. All told, by the time Laura got there at 8:30, we had: Jen, me, Christina, Ken (a German friend), Laura, Andrei (Laura’s coworker), Dave (Andrei’s roommate, American), Eugene (an American friend of Laura’s), Jared (don’t remember how we knew him), and Andre (Ken’s classmate). Everyone served themselves from the kitchen – we had mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, chicken, cranberry sauce, and the casserole, and then the apple and pumpkin pies for dessert. Everyone stayed until 11:30 or so. It was my first attempt at a Thanksgiving dinner, and we all agreed it was a huge success, thanks to everyone’s help.