My first thought when I received the invitation for the 17th Annual American Thanksgiving a month or so ago was:
Were there no Americans in Vevey more than 17 years ago?
I didn’t get the answer to my question, but I did experience my first American Thanksgiving in Switzerland tonight!
Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, I will not get the day off on Thursday. This is slightly traumatic, but I was still determined to celebrate one way or another. This annual event was a great solution! It’s held in a town that’s a 14 minute train ride up the mountain from Vevey. A ticket covers turkey and drinks, and everyone signs up to bring a side dish and a dessert to share. A committee coordinates everything, and they did a magnificent job!
I signed up to bring Sweet Potatoes. I love them, and I wanted to make sure they were part of my meal. For whatever reason, they are hard to find here. I spotted some at the farmers market a week ago and kept my fingers crossed that they would be there again this week. Sure enough, I found them! I opted for a Martha Stewart recipe that has marshmallows on top, but this also meant hunting down some marshmallows. (Another item that is not widely distributed here.) A friend told me she heard that someone found them at one of the local grocery stores. Good tip! I found them in the candy section at said grocery store. And if you can’t tell, they’re made in the USA…
I know myself and my limitations, so I opted to buy an “apple pie” (more like an apple tart) for my dessert contribution. The preparation of a side dish would surely be enough for me. (For the record, I’ve never made one item for Thanksgiving dinner. I am even more thankful for grandmothers, aunts, my mama, friends, and one year, Delta Airlines, for their efforts in putting together an incredible spread.) Little did I know how long it would take me to peel, chop, boil, and mash 10 sweet potatoes! I also had to cut up the marshmallows, since the recipe calls for mini marshmallows, which are completely out of the question here. Living in Switzerland may force me to learn to be more domestic after all.
[The finished product looked pretty good, if I do say so myself.]
Of course, this was the largest disposable tray I could find, which meant baking two. And since I don’t have any of those fancy carriers or warmers, this was my solution for transporting all of the food. Maybe I should have registered for my 30th birthday…
I clearly didn’t learn my lesson from my Google Maps debacle a mere two days ago, because when I arrived in Blonay, my phone said it couldn’t connect to the server. How was I supposed to find my way? I know – look for the only other American-looking couple exiting the train carrying a lot of food containers! It turns out they not only had directions, but were really cool. Bonus! We sat together at dinner and will hopefully hang out again before they move back to the States in March. Hooray for new friends! Anyway…back to the story…
We made it to the venue, and I laughed when I thought, “I’ve never had this view at Thanksgiving before!” (Nothing against the East Side of Youngstown.)
Inside, we had to fill out a name tag with our name and one city in the world we’ve lived. I opted for the place that started it all…
And guess what?!?! I found out that my Canadian co-worker’s sister worked in the ER at Wadley Medical Center for four years. THE SAME HOSPITAL WHERE I WAS BORN! It’s moments like this where I can’t help but laugh at how incredibly small the world is.
There were close to 200 people in attendance. There were crafts for the kids and a huge spread of food. I took full advantage of filling my plate with a lot of homemade goodness!
And how fun to celebrate with someone else who moved here from St. Louis this year!
Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving! Enjoy the food, football, parade, and time with family & friends. It’s seriously one of my favorite holidays!
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving… One of the things I’m thankful for are friends who surprise me with belated birthday presents! I completely agree that “Thankfulness” is the perfect word to describe the way I feel about the people and the memories these photos represent.