Another year has come and gone and that includes the busiest day for me. Thanksgiving isn’t widely celebrated in The Netherlands but it’s been making headlines lately. And while the holiday means different things to different people, I feel like Thanksgiving 2019 was something special.
So I want to do something a bit different this year. As I grow older, I find myself thankful for hundreds of small things. It might come from leading a calmer lifestyle (in Dutch it’s called a rustige leven). In my youth I was always at war with myself but I’ve become appreciative of everything. So let me just share a few moments of Thanksgiving 2019 that stood out to me this year.
The butcher remembered us
We go to our local butcher once a year (although we’re going to try harder to go more often because he supports ethical meat and we can use less plastic by bringing in our own containers). WEch year he knows exactly who we are and what we want. We have to special order turkey because it’s not a commonplace meat in The Netherlands. And of course turkey is the typical Thanksgiving centerpiece. It’s great going in because all he does is double check the order and give us an award winning smile each time.
The flavors were amazing
I made a few dishes this year that I’ve never made before. Let me tell you, I wanted to cry when I tasted such delicious and familiar flavors. It’s been years since I’ve had cornbread and I was able to make it this year. And to top it off, it turned out better than I had hoped. I used the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I’d love to make some with jalapenos too but I’ll have to make two batches as Sander can’t eat anything spicy!
The turkey was out of this world
After two years of trial and error, I’ve got down a good system for making turkey in our hot air oven. This year we had the perfect cooking dish, the perfect cut, and the perfect butter to flavor it with. All of these combined together gave us a soft, juicy, succulent meat that left us with few leftovers!
The memories were meaningful
This was the first year I had my Dutch tutor over. She was busy last year and couldn’t make the date. This year I told her well in advance that she had better save the date! She came over with her husband and they got to meet Sander’s parents for the first time too. For years I’ve been telling them about the wonderful neighbor who took me under her wing and helped me pass my Dutch Integration tests. I was truly able to thank her too. We got her a gift to show our appreciation. She didn’t have to take me in and teach me Dutch. But she had such a huge heart that she did it anyway! I know she keeps telling me that she enjoyed teaching me but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to show her how much I treasure her.
It’s holidays like this that remind me what life is about. It’s about spending time with loved ones, making new memories and being aware of what matters most. My Dutch family cares for me so much that I don’t feel like I deserve it. I’m grateful I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving 2019 with these wonderful people. But I digress, this strange American girl made her way to The Netherlands and made a home among the Dutch. It’s been a wild ride so far and I can’t wait until 2020 to see what comes next!