So without further ado, I present some of the features of our first Thanksgiving in Thailand, with their associated pros and cons.
FEATURE #1: As an official US Government holiday, I had the day off. As students at an international school, the kids had to go to class.
- Pro: Mali and I were able to spend a good portion of the day together, something we rarely get to do.
- Con: We didn't have the kids around to wait on us hand and foot, to cater to our every whim.
- Con: Because school was in, there was no Turkey Bowl amongst the Americans in our area. It's not like we could just go over and use the playing fields at the school, what with the kids out there for their P.E. classes and all. Sheesh.
- Con: In addition to no Turkey Bowl, there wasn't a 10K race for me to run--for the last few years I've done those races because they give me the built-in excuse to eat as much as I want, because, hey! I ran a 10K!
- Pro: We didn't have to cook a turkey ourselves. Turkeys aren't native to Thailand, so they can be a bit pricey. We bought one, but we're saving it for Christmas. I think.
- Pro: Minimal cleanup, because it wasn't at our house and we only prepared a couple of dishes.
- Pro: We had a great time with a lot of wonderful friends here in Thailand.
- Con: I wasn't able to pick at the turkey carcass like I usually do, ensuring that I get my fill of dark meat.
- Con: Because we weren't slaving in the kitchen, Mali and I went to eat at Que Pasa, the local Tex-Mex restaurant, to prime the pump. Four months in Thailand and I have had no stomach issues. None, zero, zilch, nada. But Thanksgiving day, seriously? Thanksgiving day, of all days, that's the day I have to fall victim to a stomach bug?! Fortunately it was over and done with by day's end. After consultation with other folks around here I've come upon the real moral of this story: do NOT order the cheesesteak sandwich at Que Pasa. Ever.
- Pro: Mali and I were able to play tennis, and I worked up a decent sweat doing so. Mali has always had a good forehand, but since she's been taking some lessons here, her forehand has become positively wicked. She had me running all over the court!
- Pro: I am able to play soccer, at night, even this late in the year. I know that has nothing to do with Thanksgiving specifically, I just think it's sweet.
- Con: I'm still adjusting to the idea that it's the holiday season; a 90-degree afternoon, beautiful blooming orchids and other features of a tropical climate are not helping, regardless of how much turkey and pumpkin pie we consumed. On the other hand, I'm still playing soccer regularly (see the pro listed immediately above).
FEATURE #4: Because Thailand doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving like America does (shocking, I know), the Christmas decorations went up right after Halloween.
- Pro: The Thais really go all out for Christmas--trees up at all the malls, lots of garlands and ornaments and lights and stuff.
- Pro: There is a Christmas store near our neighborhood that has amazing deals on Christmas decorations. Mali has been there at least once a week for the last five weeks. We now have even more super awesome Christmas decorations, and Mali seems really happy with it.
- Con: Mali's repeated trips to the Christmas store, in addition to the ever-present holiday decorations, got into the Christmas spirit about two weeks too early. It took the threat of me shaving my head to keep her from putting the decorations up before Thanksgiving. She almost caved--or maybe it was me that almost caved--but a thoughtful friend threatened to hold the Thanksgiving turkey hostage and we both backed down (thanks, Jen!). I do appreciate Mali's forbearance in waiting until Thursday night to start putting stuff up (even if I did tempt her by bringing out all the boxes and setting them out in plain view--aren't I terrible?).