Ziuă de Turkey

November 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Friends, Transylvania | 13 Comments
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Ziuă de Turkey: How to Celebrate Thanksgiving as an Expat

1. Schedule your feast for Saturday. Because everyone will be working Thursday. And Friday.

2. Running up to Kroger to buy a frozen turkey is not an option. Decide whether to buy a live turkey from a friend of a friend, who will also, um, ready it to be cooked.

3. Scour the stores for sweet potatoes. Discover that they come in all colors. Including purple.

4. Understand that cream-of-anything soup is an American invention. So are frozen hash browns. And those crispy fried onion thingies.

5. Spend the better part of two days preparing a Thanksgiving feast. This guarantees your children won’t eat a thing.

6. Mulled win, or vin fiert as the Romanians call it, will be enjoyed. And spilled. And enjoyed some more.

7. Make brownies from your precious stash of Duncan Hines mixes mailed from the States. Don’t forget to share them.

8. Have the children perform the blessing. Make sure it includes jazz hands.

9. Don’t be surprised when your son falls out of his chair at the children’s table. No less than three times. Blame it on the half a loaf of banana bread he single-handedly consumed.

10. Break your leg about three months before Thanksgiving. This guarantees the time you spend fixing plates, doing dishes, and chasing after children hopped up on cinnamon apples will be minimal.

11. When in Romania, do as the Romanians do: Serve sparkling water. With a nip of homemade grape juice. Or ţuică. Noroc!

12. Decide it’s time to end the evening when the children start throwing things at each other’s heads.

13. Be grateful. For old traditions and new ones. For family far away and friends close by. For frost on the trees and cheddar cheese in the deli section.

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving? What were you most thankful for? And was there cream-of-something soup involved?


Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
See the photos.



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  1. What a wonderful idea! I think you and your family are amazing for keeping your own traditions alive in an alien country.

    • It’s implied in the post, but I just realized I never explicitly stated it. We celebrated with another expat family at their house. I’m not sure if we would have had such a big celebration had we been on our own. But we’re thankful for new friends to share the season (and the purple sweet potatoes) with!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like fun. I like that the prayer was complete with jazz hands… love it.

  3. We missed your Cranberry bread and sweet potatoe casserole. Maybe next year….if you guys don’t decide to travel the world taking in other cultures!!!

  4. I didn’t bother this year. We usually go to friends (on a Saturday) but I was too nauseous so I let it slide and felt super homesick.

  5. Awww…sounds like a good time was had by all. Thanksgiving anywhere around the world is great when shared with the ones you love isn’t it?

    We had the most wonderful Thanksgiving with old friends who’re more like family. The kids squealed a lot and stayed up late and the adults played football, made dinner and indulged in movie charades. It was amazing because it reminded me of celebrations with my big family back home. How exquisite it is for me to be able to share that with my own girls (and guy) here.

  6. I’m so glad you were able to celebrate!!!

  7. LOL @ grateful for cheddar cheese in the deli! glad i’m not the only one!!!! 🙂

  8. […] I’m nostalgic because of the almost-just-like-home Thanksgiving celebration we just had. But as the halfway point of our year in Romania approaches, I realize how grateful I […]

  9. Happy Belated Turkey Day to you. We had a great family day, then went north for more family stuff over the weekend. I’m only just now feeling recuperated, and now we’re on to the next holiday. Who schedules this stuff? Yours somehow seems easier — I’m going to have to stop hosting things!

  10. oh I love this post – you will treasure this Thanksgiving for YEARS!

  11. Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you and yours! Glad you found creative ways to celebrate.

  12. […] We learned your heart and Your history and how to Toast to good, good friends. […]

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