After two years of tackling our favorite holiday here in Spain, Halloween, we’ve really got it figured out. (See previous article https://theexpatchronicle.net/2018/11/04/blending-traditions-part-1-halloween/ ) It’s a day that seems to be embraced all over the globe! But what in the world does an American do for Thanksgiving here?!
The food, the football, the family. All a bit foreign here! While our family back home basted birds, cozied up to the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade on TV and put finishing touches on apple pie, it was just another day here in Spain!
Work, school, laundry and afternoon sports. The kids even complained about not being able to stay home from school. They couldn’t understand why Thanksgiving wouldn’t be celebrated here, to which I further explained.
However, in continuing our beloved family traditions while embracing new ones, I rolled up my sleeves up and determined to make it special. So much pressure to tackle it all in a completely foreign country!?
The Taste of America store saved my a$$ this Thanksgiving! Nowhere else in Barcelona would I find canned cranberry sauce, cream of mushroom soup and mini marshmallows. And I wasn’t about to let the sticker shock stop me from preparing the most important meal of the year…
Next to tackle was the guest of honor himself, the big bird! I got a tip from an American friend about pre-ordering turkeys at the famous La Boqueria Market. I jumped on it and tried not to cringe too much at paying 40 euros.
However, when I found myself in the Emergency Room the night before the big feast, I panicked! What’s a mom to do with a sick baby and only three hours of sleep? Contact my friends at GLOVO, a bike messenger service that will pick up literally ANYthing you need and deliver it to you – for cheap!!
These guys were my knights in shining armour Thanksgiving morning! I made the emergency turkey request on my GLOVO app and within an hour Mr. Gobble Gobble himself was at my door. This was one of those moments when I realized the sheer ease and convenience of living in a big city. Check their service out here: https://glovoapp.com/es/
Ahhh, and the meal preparations began!
I made sure to cover all the traditional dishes including two special ones from our families – Italian sausage stuffing and sweet potato casserole topped with tons of precious mini marshmallows! Although our families weren’t with us to celebrate, we felt them around our table as we shared the meal with other American friends.
The cherry on the cake – or should I say, apple in the pie – was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. It’s how I grew up enjoying Thanksgiving mornings – watching as giant inflatables filled the Manhattan sky, dancers dancing and trumpets blaring. And my very favorite part that brings tears to my eyes every year – Santa himself riding the last parade float and officially welcoming the Christmas season. It warms my heart even to this day…thousands of miles away.
And so, Thanksgiving was a…success! Guests went home with leftovers and bellies full. Children fell asleep on our couch! Sure, it felt different celebrating in Spain where locals aren’t quite sure what Thanksgiving is.
But having to recreate this holiday on the other side of the globe made it feel…..that much more special. Maybe we cherished it more? We reflected on our families and friends, our three children and the opportunity we’ve been given to live and work in this incredible city!!!