We invited our ward's missionaries over for Thanksgiving, partly because two of them were American and would no doubt be missing the holiday, and partly because we just really like all four of them. It's been such a fun experience having missionaries in our ward that we actually get to spend time with, unlike in Utah where you rarely see them because they have to cover such a large number of wards in one area at a time. (We've lived in our Utah home for nine years and I've only been able to grab the privilege of feeding the missionaries ONCE.) But here in the Bundaberg Ward, we have four full-time missionaries at a time, and they are great about getting to know the members. They're one of my favorite parts of our time here in Australia.
This last week I've shopped, converted measurements and temperatures, and figured out how to make a lot of things from scratch that are normally just in cans on the shelves back home. I made pumpkin puree from an actual pumpkin because here they don't sell it in cans. I don't have a food processor here either, so the "puree" part was me forcing cooked pumpkin through a fine mesh sieve. I was determined to have pumpkin pie! (It took four hours to "puree" my pumpkin...) I made green bean casserole with fresh green beans because apparently they don't do canned green beans here either. (And the Cream of Mushroom condensed soup...very different consistency than back home, practically milk.)
The American elders were very excited about Thanksgiving dinner, and the Australian elders kept leaning over to the Americans and whispering, "What's that?" in regards to many of the dishes I served. (Green Bean Casserole was a new thing for them.) Having spent the last five months myself grappling with the different flavors of Australian cuisine, it was downright endearing to watch the Australian elders have some of the same reactions to foods that I consider ridiculously normal.
Penguin sat through dinner with the biggest smile on her little face, just an ear-to-ear, face-splitting grin. I leaned over to her and asked why she was smiling so hard, and she whispered, "I don't think I've ever been as happy as I am right now." Oh, that moment. I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons, and I'll treasure that little moment of hers forever. It was such an enjoyable evening.
|Don't worry, it's sparkling apple juice and sparkling grape juice!|
Everyone had seconds, some had thirds, and when dinner was finished, the elders had to rest a wee bit.
It was a great day, and we all had so much fun together. I always love the Thanksgivings we share with others the most. Thanksgiving dinner is meant for lots and lots of people being happy together.
2014 has been a big year for our family; a year of immense blessings and opportunities. There is so much to be grateful for right now--this awesome experience of living abroad, the opportunities that have fallen to Michael in his career, the friends we have made and the friends who have shown their love from halfway around the world, our health, the girls' new school, and the ability to adapt and learn. Our cups overfloweth. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for this year, and for all the prayers you have so lovingly answered in our lives.
And let me tell ya, it's pretty awesome to eat Thanksgiving leftovers outside in the warm sunshine, gazing at the palm trees...
Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and thank you for all your love and support, especially in these past few months. We are exceedingly blessed.