Despite growing up in a household heavily influenced by Chinese tradition, being an American-born Chinese, I have never missed a year of festive Thanksgiving celebrations. Whether with friends or family, Thanksgiving is a must every year. My family has always spent it together, whether it meant eating at home or going to a neighbor’s house for a huge potluck party. I clearly remember the hours and hours of cooking that go into each year’s feast, as well as the amazingly aromatic smells that float through the house because of it.
This year is probably my first Thanksgiving away from home. I’m literally an entire ocean away from the annual festivities, observing all my friends’ Thanksgiving celebrations through their Snapchat stories. Which… actually gave me all the more reason to throw my own Thanksgiving celebrations with my friends in Prague.
In fact, we celebrated three times… three days in a row. Lots of money was spent, but also lots of laughter and memories were made. I’ve detailed how each celebration went below!
1. Thanksgiving #1 (the day before actual Thanksgiving)
Thanksgiving #1 was probably my favorite Thanksgiving event (though that doesn’t discount how fun the others were at all), simply because of all the time and effort that went into making the dinner. Right after class, a friend and I went grocery shopping. To put it simply, a lot of food was bought. Too much food was bought. $80 worth of food was bought (and Czech groceries are madly cheap, so this means that a lot of food was bought). We also couldn’t find a turkey, and thus decided to go with a chicken instead. Anyways, afterward, we hauled three full, giant grocery bags of food back to the dorm. It was so heavy that I got a pretty good arm workout out of it. Then, starting 5 hours in advance, I shut myself in the kitchen and just prepped and prepped and prepped. Not only did I peel maybe close to 20 potatoes during this preparation, but my suitemate walked into me standing fist-deep in a chicken (I was trying to stuff the chicken with seasonings). Needless to say, it was incredibly tiring but fun, and a huge feast was eventually made. We had roasted chicken with roasted roots, mashed potatoes and gravy, pesto pasta, tomato pasta, sautéed peppers with onion, and much more. The whole process just really reminded me of home, especially with all the cooking, eating, and talking.
2. Thanksgiving #2 (the day of Thanksgiving)
For this Thanksgiving, we decided to be “fancy-schmancy” and just spend some money by going to one of Prague’s most famous restaurants. It was located in the famous TV Tower (which is notoriously known as the ugliest building in Europe), several hundred meters into the sky. With good food, good views, and good friends, all seated at the most central table of the restaurant, what could you possibly complain about? Many of us ordered steak or pasta at this dinner, and man, let me tell you– the gnocchi I had at this restaurant may have been the best gnocchi I’ve had in my life. And the bite of steak that I took from my friend, may have been the juiciest steak I’ve had during my stay in Europe. Or ever. Or maybe I was just hungry and happy to have been there with so many of my close friends. Either way, it was an amazing experience that was totally worth the money.
3. Thanksgiving #3 (the day after Thanksgiving)
This was the Thanksgiving hosted by NYU Prague. What was most impressive about this one was that they actually found a turkey! I don’t know where, or how, but that turkey was incredible– it was roasted to perfection. I might still be drooling over how great it was. Not only was the food amazing, but I also had the opportunity to bake for the event, as it was a potluck-style celebration. ALSO, for the first time ever, I successfully made dessert. To be honest, I’m not good at making desserts and rather only good at cooking savory dishes, so actually being able to make gooey brownies and receive amazing feedback on them was perhaps the highlight of my day. Ultimately the event was amazing, we played ping pong (though I sucked) and foosball (which I also sucked at) and got to eat great food.
Ultimately, I’d just like to say thanks for a great (three days) of Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for being able to spend it with my friends. I’m thankful for having friends to spend it with. I’m thankful for getting to eat so much, though I’m not as thankful for the feeling of needing to puke after from being so full. I’m thankful for the opportunity to even spend it in another country, and to be in Prague, to begin with. In other words, I’m full of thanks and full of food. Happy Thanksgiving!