As many of you may have known, one of my [many] guilty TV obsessions is Grey’s Anatomy. In Grey’s, Meredith and Christina frequently say how they are each other’s “person”. For example, Christina once says “If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.” When moving to a different country, new people become your people. Especially living far from family, friends, and really anyone we’ve ever known, we are pushed into deep relationships quickly. We share life with people we’ve only known for a short amount of time. We build community with people from different cultures. We celebrate holidays together. We eat meals together. We travel together. We do life together. When great things happen, we celebrate together. When the unthinkable happens, we grieve together. We become each other’s people.
I was reminded of this fact as I looked around our living room last Thursday evening as we celebrated a Thanksgiving feast together. Sitting in our living room were three Germans, two Scots, our Californian friend down from Aberdeen, and our New Hampshirite flatmate. We feasted on a traditional Thanksgiving meal complete with an amazing turkey (if I do say so myself…), Jared’s mashed potatoes, Harry’s stuffing, Kim and Moritz’s amazing German sourdough rye bread, Jenny’s salad, drinks specially chosen by Ryan and Ruari, and of course, finished the meal by somehow shoving some pie on top, accompanied by ice cream from Marcel. It was a community effort to celebrate, and we were so thankful to celebrate with our friends here. Naturally I had a hard time relinquishing much so I made turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and two pies… but I loved every minute of it. We attempted to stream a football game at one point, but I think it got difficult and the tryptophan took over and we gave up. We spent the evening laughing and talking together, just enjoying being together, it was a fantastic holiday.
Obviously making a holiday meal for 10 people creates a bit of a disaster, and Jared, Harry, and I were all cooking in our tiny kitchen at once, so we managed to use just about every dish we own. When I went to bed Thursday night, our kitchen looked like an explosion had gone off, I don’t think there was a single surface visible. I had to work Friday morning before the sun came up, so I crashed, and figured I would be washing a bowl to have some cereal in the morning. BUT! I woke up to a perfectly clean house. Every dish was washed. My makeshift ironing board tables were put away. My free leaf-decorations were back outside in their natural habitat. My blanket/tablecloth was in the washing machine. I think Jared and Ryan stayed up all night to clean up, especially considering that Ryan slept til 3 pm the next day… It was a perfect ending to a perfect holiday celebrated with those who have become our people in this time. What a way to celebrate thankfulness.