my Cusqueñan Thanksgiving

Until this past Thursday I had never been away from my family for a holiday. And if I can help it, I never will be again. never. ever. ever.

Thanksgiving morning I had a normal breakfast (read: two rounds of bread with a smidgin of peanut butter and jelly and a cup of tea) and headed off to school. Class was quite typical.

I returned home after school to what my host mother deemed a “special” lunch for Día de Acción de Gracias. Apparently what made it special was that we had a large chunk of beef to eat with potatoes instead of rice and some tasty concoction of veggies and chicken, as normal. While I did enjoy the beef, I would have preferred one of the usual dishes. It is funny how she considers having a piece of tough beef as opposed to the delicious, creamy concoctions we eat daily, to be “special.” I would say the exact opposite.

After lunch I hung around the house for a while and checked on what had been left for me for supper (nothing good) before heading to school. On the way I stopped at a supermercado and bought a small bottle of drinkable yogurt, just because it was Thanksgiving, not because I was hungry or thirsty.

At school I spent about an hour and a half skyping with various family and extended maternal family members who were gathered, as always, at Grandma M.’s house. It was wonderful! Eventually, everyone had to go down to the giant, traditional bonfire. *sigh* After waisting a few more minutes on the computer catching up on various websites, I packed up and stepped out into the growing darkness around 6:30.

On the way home I first popped in to my favorite pastry place to purchase the pye de manzana (apple pie) I had been mentally saving for Thanksgiving. I asked for it “para llevar,” to go. As is customary for pastries here, “para llevar” meant that they placed my piece of pie on a styrofoam tray and placed the tray in a plastic bag. With my bag of pie clutched in one hand I walked over a few blocks to Avenida el Sol to find another, more expensive and slightly upscale pastry and sandwich shop where I had previously eaten an empanada de ají de gallina: a pastry filled with shredded chicken in a creamy, bright yellow, somewhat spicy sauce. They were out. And their regular empanadas de carne (beef) cost S/5! So, I left there and purchased an empanada de carne for half the price at a pastry and cake shop just a few shops down the road. I arrived home with a pastic bag of pastry in each hand and my backpack on my back around 7:00.

I threw my backpack on my bed, gathered the necessary items for my Thanksgiving supper, and brought everything to the kitchen.

And here are pictures to illustrate the rest:



  1. Claire,

    I hope you never,ever,ever have to be away from family during the holidays again, also! From the parent standpoint, it’s a bummer having that empty spot at the table/bonfire.

    Your “Thanksgiving dinner in a box” looks pretty good – not sure I can say the same about the hotdogs :)

    And, I feel honored to have the apple cider referred to as Bowman cider! Let’s hope no one gets the wrong idea and think we are into moonshining!

    Miss you lots! David is now in charge of Ellen’s writing. Just last night I heard him say, “Yes, I know it’s a prepositional opener but where is the rest of the sentence?” And, then I think I heard him say, under his breath, “Drat this IEW checklist!” So, know you have a job waiting on you if you decide not to go to wherever you’re going to next :)

  2. Your thanksgiving dinner beats mine. We drove up to Ohio on Thanksgiving so my thanksgiving lunch was McDonalds chicken nuggets and french fries… But I did have some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cooks that I brought along.

    1. Wow. You’re right. That’s one disgusting Thanksgiving lunch. However, I am rather envious of your pumpkin chocolate chip cookies; they sound REALLY good!

  3. Hola Claire:
    Esta es la segunda vez que leo uno de tus escritos para tu diario, que divertido y simpatico!!!, los leere mas seguido. No los estaba recibiendo hasta que Victoria me los empezo a mandar. Lo siento tanto que no pudiste estar con nosotros en El Dia de Gracias en TN. Todos te extranamos muchisimo, mis hijas no dejaban de decir: “aqui se sentaria Claire”, “si Claire estuviera aqui”, “sin Claire no es igual” etc.
    Me da mucho gusto que estes aprendiendo Espanol. Espero que cuando regreses podamos platicar SOLAMENTE en Espanol, para que nadie nos entienda, hahahah.
    Muchos saludos,
    Tia Susana :)

    1. Hola Tía Susana,
      Ojalá que hubiera estado allá con ustedes, pero supongo que éste sea un pequeño sacrifico para aprender Español. Vamos a ver si sería posible que hable con ustedes solamente en Español. Creo que mi vocabulario es muy pequeño todavia. Tal vez después de que regrese de Panama, sería más probable. Espero que el año de la escuela esté pasando muy bien!
      Muchos abrazos,

      1. Oh si! claro que vas a aprender mucho pues eres bien inteligente.
        El ano va muy bien Alexander esta muy contento en la Universidad. La esta pasando un poco dificil pues los estudios se estan poniendo pesados. Pero en todo lo demas muy bien.
        Victoria ira a la escuela el ano que entra, y espero que le guste.
        Te mandamos muchos saludos y abrazos.
        Disculpa que no acentuo mis palabras, y no uso la n con tilde pues me da flogera poner las claves.
        tia Susana :)

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s