Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canadian Thanksgiving

After almost a month a anticipation and excitement, Thanksgiving weekend finally arrived. I had sent out an open invitation to all staff at my school as well as a few non CDNIS people that I know in HK. Potentially, I knew there could be a huge turn out, but I was happily satisfied with my prediction that I could easily accommodate up to 50 people with the rooftop area and the balcony doors wide open. I also proposed the party as an all-day event, running between 3pm and 9pm with the hopes that people and families would straggle in, socialize and visit, and then head out at scattered times, thus creating different mixtures of people at different points of the day. It was specifically a pot luck and not a sit-down dinner.

On Friday I bought a 22-lb turkey in Causeway Bay from a local frozen meats store that my friend Tanja took me to. I waddled home with it, first by taxi, then ferry, then walking. I affectionately named him Trypto, and when we got home I laid him in the bathtub to thaw.

Saturday morning Melissa came over and she baked a scrumptious-looking pumpkin pie followed by an even handsomer apple pie. I watched carefully to pick up some baking skills.

Sunday arrived. At 7am, I cleaned and seasoned Trypto, setting him in the oven for a 6 hour sleep. Then I cleaned the house. It was a gloomy and surprisingly windy day, but the promise of blue sky seemed to be taunting me every so often when I was up on the roof. Things could brighten up, I assured myself. Melissa arrived early to help me make a scavenger hunt of cute Gobble Gobble signs leading from the ferry to my flat.

At exactly 3 o'clock a flurry of people came to Lamma (as happens here with an influx of people on each arriving ferry). A few families with little kids, a couple friends from outside school, and then more teachers, more teachers and even more teachers. As the crowd grew larger, so did the heaviness of the clouds. Within an hour the rain was inevitable. Everyone was forced inside, off the roof and off the balcony. The crowd continued to grow steadily. More kids, more adults, more food and more wine. People were having an awesome time, nonetheless, squished into a small space where the air was sticky and very loud. Everyone indulged in all the  fabulous food, wine and beer and shared the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

I had encouraged people to bring food items, of whatever variety, to share with the crowd. I expected that people would nibble here and there and that the food would be not so much served as a meal, as simply laid out as it came. This, of course, didn't work out very well! Not only was everyone in the same place at the same time, but it turned out that eating together made the most sense, given the time and abundance of munchkins. All of this with limited serving surfaces/tables, not enough disposable plasticware and the absence of real sit-down areas available. Ahhhhhh! At this point Melissa swooped in tot save the day playing an amazing role of hostess because a) she's really good at it  and b) she enjoys it. I was incapable of orchestrating the food delivery.

It was, for everyone, a fabulous party. I was left, unfortunately, with a small weight of disappointment. I wanted people to experience the splendor of the roof top. I wanted everyone to be able to relax comfortably. I wanted more space and less stress. Oh well... there will be other times for different parties and many good lessons were learned. The biggest one being that my place isn't set up to be exactly child-friendly, or maybe it's a bit too child-friendly.

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