27.11.12

Giving Thanks in Belgium

New friends and cosmos. 
My favorite holiday of the year has come and gone. The day that American families put differences aside to gather together and focus on gratitude and . . . well, football of course. Thanksgiving is more then a giant, turkey dinner for my family; a family of Ukrainian immigrants that worked tirelessly to build a life in America. I grew up hearing stories of how my father's parents miraculously made their way from Ukraine to China to the Philippines to Paraguay and finally to America. My grandfather was orphaned in China at the age of five, and he is immensely thankful for the opportunity that American gave a hardworking, orphan boy. My sweet grandfather tears up when he starts talking about his blessed life. He is a man who chose to live a beautiful life of thankfulness. Because of his example, Thanksgiving is a special time for my family.  

Thanksgiving 2011 found Chris and me around the table with new friends in Serbia, and this year we shared the holiday with three new friends in Belgium. Last year I searched high and low for a Serbian turkey and eventually just had to settle for chicken; but this year, I found a turkey! Well, at least I found part of a turkey. My mom visited Belgium the week before Thanksgiving, so she helped me season the turkey legs. She gave me detailed directions on preparing those legs, but unfortunately we didn't take my European oven into account. I think the oven is actually quite efficient, but the only issue is that all of the directions and prompts are in Dutch. I was scrambling to finish the meal when our three guests arrived baring gifts. They blessed us with Belgian chocolate and beer. Check out the way that the beer is displayed. 


We enjoyed cosmos and Kentucky bourbon as we waited for the turkey to finish. Once the bird was cooked though, we sat down to enjoy the meal and share some of the McCoy Thanksgiving traditions. The evening was wonderful and we have already planned the next dinner! Next time, Chris and I will be treated to some traditional Belgian foods and traditions. 

This year, I am thankful for:
-The way the Lord has blessed us and kept us safe. 
- My amazing, hardworking, loving husband, Chris. 
- Two solid, supportive families. 
- The opportunity to experience new cultures and traditions. 
- Daily being forced out of my comfort zone. 
- Being a foreigner - because it has humbled me. 
- The friends who have made us feel at home here and in Serbia.
- This amazing adventure that Chris and I are living. 
- Our health. 
-Skype - because I can keep in touch with family and friends. 
- My amazing girlfriends from home who are so intentional. 
- My washer and dryer.
- The two mile running trail outside our Belgian apartment. 
- Belgian chocolate - because it makes me run more. 
-Bruges - because that city makes me smile. 
- Meeting another expat friend. 

Thanks for reading and I hope that you are daily finding reasons to be thankful!
My fancy, little (Dutch) oven.

Sinterklaas and his black helpers (a blog about this to come!)
Chris thought this was the coolest gift ever. Thanks Bert, Bart and Leen!
This is what my turkey looked like. 
The spread. There's a picture of our friends from Serbia here too. 
Our little, but cozy table. Happy Thanksgiving!