The candles were glowing, china sparking and the silver just right. Beautiful. Delicious smells from the kitchen and soft music said that this was not going to be just an ordinary supper - the table was set for more than the normal one - and there was a feeling of expectancy in the air. she moved from room to room double checking everything - from the placement of the candles to the level of warmth. Everything was in place and she was ready to receive her guests.
They were going to celebrate Thanksgiving - yes, a few weeks early but it didn't matter for these guests had never celebrated such a feast and it was her honor to help them learn a tradition that was very dear to her heart. her guests came from all over the world: Australia, Austria, Germany, Mexico, Columbia and Equador. Six beautiful women, one from each country, were living in the States for at least one year and were part of an Au Pair Exchange program.
The first to arrive was the German, with her slight Berlin accent to her perfect English noticeable as she apologized for being late(she was right on time). Then came the Australian and Austrian. And lastly the three Latinas - shorter, darker - full of passion. They all brought a dish from their own country - some of them spent hours making tortillas and salads and strudel. They laughed and got all the food on the table, including the turkey and stuffing that she had made for them. They tried all the dishes (even a bit of Veggie Might) and declared everything delicious.
And as she looked around the table, candlelight glowing off of each face, she felt a twinge of something not quite known. These girls, some of them only 19 yrs old, so far from home, so full of hope. Lives left at 'home', loves, pets, siblings, parents...and yet in this small space of time, they were a little family of women, sharing a meal, learning a very American tradition. she felt so fortunate, so very fortunate to be part of their lives.
her Thanksgiving memories are so strong and wonderful. So many relatives gather around similar tables, children laughing, everyone eating and declaring 'not another bite' as they reach for just one more slice of that cranberry bread. Laughter has always been in her life as well as love, family, hopes and dreams and are they not all summed up in Thanksgiving? Is Thanksgiving not a time where one can take a few minutes to reflect on all that has transpired throughout the year and give thanks?
And she is thankful. Thankful to be alive. Thankful to have a house and a job. Thankful for friends and family who love and care for her.
she will attend the tradtional Thanksgiving meal in a few weeks, but she doesn't think it can top the one she had tonight.