Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

I know it's a little late for a Thanksgiving post, but I had to wait until we had finished all of our Thanksgiving celebrations this year. We celebrated Thanksgiving in an unusual but fun way. Thursday, our branch of the Mormon church had a Thanksgiving party. Not that any of the Thai members really know much about Thanksgiving, but it's an excuse for a party, so whatever. They asked John to briefly explain why we celebrate Thanksgiving. Five minutes before we left the house, John turned to me and said,"So, why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?" We stuck with the simple elementary-school kind of explanation. After he was done, one of the guys asked why we eat turkey, and John explained that there were wild turkeys where the Pilgrims lived. Then the guy says, "Why not elephants? You can feed a lot of people with an elephant." I'm sure the Pilgrims would have considered that, had there been any elephants roaming the future New England. We had a light dinner of rice, spicy meat, and fried chicken. Welcome to Thanksgiving, Isaan-style. And brownies for dessert. After dinner we sang karoake, because after all, what's a party without some karoake?

The culminating event was a pinata. A white, vaguely heart-shaped pinata with "Hit me baby" written on one side and "One more time" on the other. There were three Thai women who made quick work of it. The guy who made it explained to John that he'd seen one at a Christmas party in another part of Thailand, only that one was shaped like a sheep. It was even covered with cotton balls to look like a sheep. Apparently it confused some of the Thai kids, who assumed that it was a farang Christmas tradition to beat up sheep. Luckily he corrected that impression.

The best part about Thanksgiving was just being with the Thai members of the church here. They really care about each other, and they've embraced us. They have such a good time when they're together - it doesn't really matter what they're doing, they just take it easy and enjoy it.

Still, you gotta have the opportunity to get completely stuffed at Thanksgiving, so Friday night we went to the Sofitel, our local five-star hotel. It's a French hotel so they don't really know much about Thanksgiving, but they did have turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. And their buffet is always fabulous, a great mix of Japanese, Thai and Western food. We took the missionaries from church with us. One of them is brand new, he'd arrived in Bangkok the day before and Khon Kaen that morning. Being from Twin Falls, Idaho, Thailand is a big change for him, but he's nothing if not enthusiastic. He went estatic over the fruit at the buffet, and tried all the Thai foods and desserts while the rest of us gorged ourselves on Western treats. He was also falling alseep sitting up by 9 pm, but his companion claims he was praying :).

Off topic, but worth sharing, was my class activity on Friday. We'd been discussing careers as our theme for the past two weeks, and Friday's career was chef/baker. The powers that be wanted the kids to do a cooking activity in class, only nothing that required ovens or stoves. Basically they wanted them to make a snack. I suggested we buy cookies and make frosting to make cookie sandwiches, but that was rejected. Instead, the kids each took a slice of buttered bread, spread it with jam, and topped it with an assortment of treats. Toppings included crushed Oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, seaweed flavored potato chips, gummy bears, and other snacks. Then they ate it. The best part was when my co-teacher turned to me and said, "So, what do you call this snack in America?" The best I could come up with was sandwich, because, frankly, I'd never seen anything remotely resembling these snacks.

Finally, some funny Trea moments. She's been watching a lot of a Baby Einstein video featuring animals. Every time she sees the otters, she says, "Water monkey!" They are kind of playful like monkeys. . . And she thinks the seal is a dinosaur. Lately, when she does something funny, she declares, "Trea funny!" Or sometimes, if John or I really amuse her, she'll say "Daddy funny!" or "Mommy funny!" It's more her tone of voice that's amusing. And last but not least, here's what she looked like going to church this morning.


Drew said...

She's huge! Too cute too! I love hearing about your adventures.

Zimm said...

Oh my gosh, she's adorable. I'm totally hooking Jaden up with her in 18 years.

suprbacana said...

Trea is a cutie!! I had only seen one picture of her and it was a long time ago. She looks different with hair! :-) haha What a thanksgiving adventure! Love the pinata story. you mean it isn't tradition to beat up sheep? oops... We invited a family in our ward over for thanksgiving. It was fun. I made a turkey, which I'd never done. It turned out fine. The family we had over--the guy is from Peru and the girl is from Canada. They have been in the US for several years though and love Thanksgiving. We had a blast! You guys are welcome to come next year.. ;-)