I had my last final exam today and now I can finally rejoice in all that is the holiday season. I have learned more about copepods and Sverdrup's hypothesis than I ever thought I would. Chaetognaths and peanut worms have haunted me in my sleep. It was a semester of all things ocean and now I am ready to come back to Earth and soak up the terrestrial sphere. What with its conifer trees, snowy precipitation, and abundance of food stuffs. Like pumpkins, and pies, yule log, other nogs and cookies. Lots of cookies.
And as it is notably very difficult to get in the holiday mood when you live in the land of eternal sunshine and 90 degree days, where better to go to start the gleeful acclimatization?
Copious amounts of fermented beverages, good friends, and stinky cheese await us. We leave in twelve hours, see you in a few days.
The birds were ravished. Two tiny seven-pounders did not last long in this crowd of voracious turkey hunters, but luckily we had eleventy-hundred side dishes to induce a tryptophan coma. There were Polish pies and sage stuffing, Mexican mashed-potatoes, Arkansawer cranberry dressing and biscuits, olives and asparagus, Brussel sprouts Floridian, mashed yams with 'mallows, Greek salad made by a Greek man, and Canadians-who-stole-Thanksgiving gravy. It was an epic feast shared by friends from a small world.
The day started at 2pm. Which is mere blasphemy considering years past. I was a cool, calm and collected cook who damn well knew what she was doing with a turkey and could make pumpkin pie in her sleep. I prepared pie crusts ahead of time and had six loaves of bread ready to be converted into stuffing. But mostly, over these past years of hosting, I have learned the value of putting my trust in others. To bring what they will. To bring their own taste. Even if that means the potatoes arrive half and hour late. As do all things Mexican.
When the bellies were full and no one could move, we sat and we talked. The same people who see each other six times a day, at work, at the store, at the movies, at lunch. In our small funny town we're actually quite quaint no matter if we come from all sides of the planet. When the Norwegian professor gets up to sing us a song, and the Chinese man smiles along with the Swiss, the Greek gives a smirk, and the Latina does something silly, we all are just one big family feasting together.
Since Thursday is a workday in these parts, we will be celebrating on Friday (which technically will still be Thursday in some parts of the USofA). Thirty some Turkey Hunters will be gathering to feast on the illusive Arabian bird and no doubt mountains of 'taters, stuffin', sweet yams, cranberry sauce, beans, and corn will also go down the gullet. We will have pies-galore with cream on the side, and whatever other mystery delectables our strange crowd might bring... mangoes, konafa, pierogi, hibiscus tea? It will be a Saudi Celebration.
When I had consumed enough free wine and pseudo-conversations had reached their climax, I walked myself right out of there.
Hi, where are you from? What are you studying? Wow, that is really interesting. Are you doing your Phd? Oh, you're a professor, what's your name again? Oh shit, you are a totally famous scientist. I feel like an ass. The best thing to calm your nerves after 3rd grade renditions of Hi, I'm Emily, will you be my friend is a slightly-less-than-sober stroll through the cool night air, camera in hand. Everything is quiet and shadowed. You can stop to observe the world around you, yet remain inconspicuous.
Sometimes I relish the opportunity to throw myself amongst the crowd, and shine. Proof of that is no less obvious than my purchase of The Stunna' Shoes. I can don them an immediately transform into a superstar, ready to dazzle the world with my extroverted fabulosity. Flying my freak flag high with unadulterated pride.
But then, there are other times, too. Times when I want nothing more than to be quiet. My inner bookworm child takes over. No doubt the part of myself that led me to become a scientist in the first place. The bottled up nerd inside flourishes best when she can blend in to the shadows. To observe and learn. Thinking without having something clever to say.