Tuesday 27 November 2012

What are you grateful for?

My first American Thanksgiving took place two weeks ago.  In Cusco, Peru.

This is Tal.

In his own words Tal can, 'Piss a dinner party for 20'.  As such, an American Thanksgiving on a day´s notice was no big deal.  What we forgot to take into account was that I was helping.

This is me with Tal.

In everyone's words, all I touch turns to disaster (or adventure - it all just depends how you look at it!)

As such, because I was involved...

The turkeys that we purchased at noon on the day of our Thanksgiving dinner for 20 were obviously frozen.  We had to wade through a reeking room of poultry blood to get them.  Tal´s loudly proclaimed Peruvian swear words shocked all within earshot.  Fortunately for him, he oozes charm and can get anything he wants when he bats his big blue eyes.

Below is a portrait of our turkeys, en route home from the 'All things poultry' warehouse in Cusco.  (This seems to be the only place a turkey is available outside of Christmas.  Apparently all the other turkeys are too skinny at this time of year.  Or too tired from having flown in from Lima?)  Here we are giving our turkeys a break from their long Lima flight and sharing a ride home in our taxi.

Our turkeys were frozen and our oven is the size of a shoebox.  Rather than stuffing the fowl into the shoebox, we decided to outsource the problem.

This is Don Julio.  With our broken spanish, we think we´ve agreed to have him thaw and cook the birds at warp speed.  He does, after all, run a chicken roastery.  He must have an oven or two.  Or so we thought.

The photo is fuzzy because the boys are working so fast.

Believing that the turkeys were successfully outsourced, we were now free to toast to our brilliance with a Bloody Mary overlooking Cusco´s main plaza.

Unfortunately, due to our poor grip of the Spanish language, our turkeys were not in fact being cooked.  We arrived hours later to Don Julio´s, only to learn that his favour to us had been to leave the turkeys thawing on his counter.  Perhaps he thought we didn´t have counter space?

In true Backroads leader form (clearly the type of people who've pulled off gourmet picnics in 20 minutes in developing nations with hurricane warnings blaring and rabid dogs at our heels....) we showed our creative brilliance, took a deep breath, and threw more money at the problem.

This time we ran/hauled our fowl up the street to a special ´horno´.  This incredible wood oven down a back alley was surely the answer.  Twenty steaming cuy (guinea pigs) had to moved out of the way to accomodate our birds.  Because the guinea pigs were nearly cooked through, they couldn't even squeal their protest.

 At 9pm, we heaved steaming, delicious turkeys up the 3 flights of stairs to our apartment.

Tal is sideways after all the effort.  
And because I can't figure out how to turn him around...


Somehow Tal pulled this off in spite of my support - what a team!

McKay, Diego, and a whole lot of food...

It's odd that a Canadian and an Aussie should choose to throw an American Thanksgiving meal, but throw one we did.  Our home overflowed with new friends from Peru, Japan, Ireland, and even a few token Americans.  We played music, sang and shared our gratitude for food to eat and friends to share it with.

This day full of misadventures led to my first American Thanksgiving meal, and I am so grateful for it.  Of course, things never quite seem to go the way that you expect (ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE ME).  And thank goodness for that!  Because of it, I have been blessed by beautiful people who leap into my life to link arms and ensure that everything turns out better than expected (yeah Tal! thanks Emma! And Don Julio and countless others...).  Anyway, with a few misadventures under our shared belts, yes there are moments of panic - and a whole heck of a lot of fun along the way!

Of course we don't have to eat turkey to profess our gratitude.  How wonderful that we can practice being grateful anywhere in the world, on any day of the week.


*This phrase and image is borrowed from my all-time favourite restaurant, Cafe Gratitude.  Check it out next time you're in San Francisco!  Order up a serving of, 'I am adventurous'. Share a little, 'I am vivacious'.  Then wash it all down with a big gulp of, 'I am courageous'.  Yum!  A tasty serving of inspiration and gratitude...

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