Tuesday, December 7, 2010

International Thanksgiving

I will soon get to the very unfortunate reason for my delay of writing, but first, let me tell you how I spent my American holiday in Odessa.  I was actually just a tad depressed that I had potatoes and raw cabbage instead of my usual delicious feast on Thanksgiving.  This is the first year that I have ever been away from either Nat’s or my family.  I am accustomed to juicy, perfectly prepared turkey, steaming sweet potatoes, Costco pumpkin pies, and hours of eating.  This year was just a tad bit different to say the least.

On Thursday I was warmly reminded of my country’s holiday by my hostel mate, Dasha.  She is one of the sweetest and genuine girls I have ever met.  I was surprised that she remembered that Thursday was a holiday whereas I was somewhat stoic to the fact.  I went through the day, although thankful for everything I have in my life, minus my food allergy, slightly depressed.  I was constantly reminded of my absence while surfing Facebook; all of my friends were excited about their big plans to celebrate the occasion with friends, family and food.  I guess for one of the first times the entire trip, I found myself somewhat homesick.  Just then, I remembered I had received a very thoughtful invitation from an ex-pat named Nik who was working for a different hostel in town.  My mood was lifted as I made the phone call to ask him about the event’s details and what I should bring.  He simply told me to bring something I could share with the rest of the group.

I arrived at the dinner one hour late because I had to go home and prepare something, but as I suspected, I was still one of the first to arrive.  Being late to events and parties is one thing Americans and Ukrainians have in common.  I joked about how I am happy that this party was not being hosted by a German because everyone was so late.  Even for me it was too late, as I had not eaten and by 8PM I was famished.  Finally the rest of the crew arrived with an amazing set of dishes that really represented the international composition of our friends.  Along with the turkey, we had a Greek sauce, Mexican dessert, and a lot of vodka.  My only complaint about the meal was the limited amount of turkey each guest was allowed to consume; it just seemed to incredibly small compared to what I am used to.  I suppose that eating until you cannot move is not really the point of Thanksgiving, so I let it slide.  
Greek Sauce
There was more alcohol than food at our dinner
Salad and booze
 I was telling the rest of the guests how I was sad that I could not eat or drink most of the items on the table; I showed them my spots and another guest gave me the new nickname “Blotchy.”  The hostel owner asked me some questions about my spots, then simply after a short analysis told me he was sorry to inform me, contrary to my doctor’s diagnosis, I actually had a really bad case of bed bugs.  Although concerned, I shrugged it off because someone in my hostel would have mentioned the tale-tell signs by now, or another guest would have been complaining.  It just did not make sense to me that I was the only one who had been suffering over the course of the month.  I definitely kept this new information in my mind, and decided I would keep my eyes peeled for signs of bugs.  I pushed the thought out of my mind so I could enjoy our company.
International Thanksgiving Guest

After the delicious dinner, we went to the living room and began a game of Ukrainian Monopoly.  It was even more vicious and unrelenting than usual.  There were under the table deals, extortion, and even a Casino where you can gamble away your money.  It was an interesting spin on the American classic.  


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