For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a holiday spent with family and relatives while feasting and giving thanks for the year's blessings. However, if you happen to be a traveler, expat, or home swapper like me, Thanksgiving is not always a family affair. Or rather, a blood relative thang...such was the case this year. Thanks to a nifty thing called the sharing economy, the wonderful foodie network EatWith, and our gracious home exchange hosts from Knok, this Thanksgiving (or Thanksgivukkah) was the first for many international folks living and visiting here in Barcelona.
Guests started to arrive half past eight, which by local standards, is an extremely early dinner! Those who came were a true melting pot of countries, cultures and generations. There was an expat couple in search of a festive way to celebrate their favorite American tradition. Another guest was a world traveler from California who, inspired by a pang of homesickness, google searched "Thanksgiving in Barcelona" and found himself spontaneously signing up for the dinner on EatWith.com. Besides our American and Spanish friends, other guests were from France, Germany, and Bulgaria.
The table was filled with all the traditional fixings: Turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, steamed veggies, potatoes, squash soup, pumpkin pie...along with a great assortment of local Barcelona pica pica, plus a plentitude of good Catalan wine, beer, cava, and apple cider. Eyes lit up as each entree was brought into the dinning room by our Knok hosts. The familiar "ooos" and "yum!" were mixed with "¡qué bueno! and "¡delicioso!" as everyone started to eat with enthusiasm.
The highlight of the night was just before dessert, when everyone was asked to share something they were grateful for. The common language was English, but the distinct accents brought a wonderful mix to the blessings being shared. Nearly everyone there was experiencing Thanksgiving for the first time in their lives, or it was their first time away from home. The gratitude and good feeling was tangible as those present shared personal stories. And while the pumpkin pie is usually my favorite part of any thanksgiving meal, this year it was surpassed by the chance to be part of a cross-cultural experience that filled not only my stomach, but my heart as well.
For more photos from our evening click here! ...And what about all the Thanksgivukkah chatter? Here's a blog post with great tips and recipes!