November 24, 2009
{me and cait in france, november 2006}
one of the strangest parts about living in another country, is spending the holidays away from home. thanksgiving was a particularly tough one for me when i lived in france because, as it turns out, the french don’t have a holiday that celebrates pilgrims and indians and gives families across the country an excuse to feast on turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce. strange.
spending a holiday away from home can make you feel oddly like the day hasn’t happened at all. and try as you might, it’s hard to impress upon a french friend your insatiable hunger for pumpkin pie.
when thanksgiving came around though, i was very lucky. a group of teachers from l’ecole henri matisse where i taught english (qui je remercie du fond du coeur) invited me to a festive dinner and swept away all my heartache and longing with chocolate mousse and midnight toasts.
but that’s not the end of it. just a week after turkey day, my sister and brother-in-law came to france and we got down to business making a real thanksgiving feast. we stole away to the home of my aunt and uncle in bretagne and made a meal fit for kings. or more precisely, fit for three americans with an ardent taste for sweet potatoes and cranberries and my aunt and uncle’s dear friends and neighbors who suffered our sweet and salty mixtures without making too many grimaces. {no hard feelings}.
here, a few photos of our frenchy-style thanksgiving. and a little note wishing all of you expats out there the happiest of thanksgivings. xo.DSCN0685
{la petite maison de tante evelyne and uncle duane; ploneour lanverne, bretagne}DSCN0676
{the makings of our feast}.DSCN0750
{cranberries. or a very sour fruit not so much appreciated by the french palette. pardon}.
{yours truly. and sweet potatoes}.DSCN0763
{cait and a wine bottle rolling pin}.DSCN0751
{curto and stuffing in the works}.DSCN0828
{the feast. et les voisins}.DSCN0829

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  • Reply Emily November 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    A lovely story! I had a similar experience while studying abroad in England – it's true it does feel like the day doesn't happen but you can still make it special with good friends and a well-cooked meal! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply blue moss November 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    i love your french style thanksgiving….we were in paris on vacation for the fourth of july…it was strange not having any celebration 🙂
    happy thanksgiving to you

  • Reply Jacqueline J November 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Stunning presentation; quaint, authentic. Lovely.

  • Reply Stacey November 24, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Oh, it was lovely to read your tale of an unusual, yet warm and memorable Thanksgiving…I can't wait for a bite of pumpkin pie!!

  • Reply doebmom November 24, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Oh! One of my favorites photos in the whole wide world, that first one–and so glad to have you (all of you)here with us on this turkey holi-day. Why-o, why-o, can't we have turkey now, oh!!xoxo

  • Reply Vanessa November 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Thanksgiving is such a hard time to be away from home. This will be my 4th one here in Sweden, and it doesn't really get any easier. This Saturday I'll be celebrating with some friends, and the good news is that Swedes love to try new traditions, so I get to share a bit of my home with them!

  • Reply The Lil Bee November 24, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I love the way you write:) This sounds and looks delish.

  • Reply Robin November 24, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    What a beautiful French Thanksgiving you had! Thank you for the happy holiday thoughts for those of us abroad. Australia is my third country away from American holidays, but it doesn't make it any easier! I'm hosting an Aussie-style Thanksgiving, pictures on my blog soon if you want to see! 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply Diana November 25, 2009 at 1:02 am

    you have such a lovely blog! this was a lovely post!

  • Reply {lovely little things} November 25, 2009 at 3:45 am

    Your French Thanksgiving looks lovely!

  • Reply Elizabeth November 25, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Love the wine bottle improvising. I'm at the mercy of my stepmother's cooking this year…she puts marshmallows on top of her sweet potatoes instead of brown sugar and pecans. I may have a heart attack when I see what she calls stuffing.

  • Reply Bonbon Oiseau November 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    nice job and i liove lovelove this story!! thank you for sharing dear erin! happy thanksgiving in america to you tomorrow!

  • Reply prashant November 26, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I can't wait for a bite of pumpkin pie!!

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  • Reply Sum November 30, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I love all your pictures. I didn't know France has castles like that. It looks just like a Disney castle. And I'm glad you got that experience of celebrating Thanksgiving in a foreign country. 🙂

  • Reply vintage simple November 30, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    What a a beautiful story you've told here with your words and pictures. I hope you had an equally sweet Thanksgiving this time around, too.


  • Reply Jane Flanagan December 1, 2009 at 3:37 am

    I know this feeling all to well. Most Irish holidays are celebrated here (Halloween, St Patrick's Day) but it's done so differently it can feel worse than if it were not done at all. I always rely on having a few friends who indulge all my whims and stories on those days.

  • Reply One.Twenty.Fifty.Two December 3, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    aww what a story..

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