16 January 2016 – a new day in our lives together.
Photos generally do most of the talking for a wedding, but since I enjoy a modicum of privacy on the internet at large (and I’m sure my guests would too), I’ve gone and pulled all the images our photographer took without faces in them.
Needless to say, the day was AMAZING, exactly what we could have hoped for, and at the end of it all I was married to my best friend. This was wonderful to go back through the photos over a year on and enjoy the moment again. 🙂
Good lord, not even Thanksgiving last year, but the year before that. How embarrassing.
This would be our third Thanksgiving together, and the first with guests. The significant otter was excited to put our larger Norfolk kitchen to use at full effect. He was even preparing a vegetarian main course for one of our guests! In our house, he is definitely the cook – though I did get to make the desserts. (Not pictured is the pumpkin pie.)
M has taken quite a shine to Thanksgiving. I suspect this is mostly due to him getting free license to cook an absolutely massive meal full of complex recipes more than a keen desire to bring Americanism into our home. We definitely still avoid the Black Friday sales like the plague. Regardless, he had been relentlessly prepping for this day for weeks. I’m not exaggerating – WEEKS. He had a spreadsheet of foods needed, when to buy them, and when they’d go into the oven. I’m not kidding on the ‘fond of’ bit.
Finally we get to the week of Thanksgiving and it all kicks off. Because we don’t get the Thursday off in the UK (Shocking, right?), Thanksgiving is generally held on a Saturday for us. This works pretty well for frozen turkeys as the actual day of Thanksgiving is a great reminder to take the bird out to defrost if you haven’t already.
Speaking of turkeys… Did you know it is nigh on impossible to get a fresh turkey before mid-December here? Everyone likes to have them for Christmas, so they just aren’t ready before then. Trust me, I called and walked in about five different butchers around Norwich asking about this. They all looked at me like I had lost my mind. Thankfully, you can purchase frozen turkeys from the grocery store, especially around November time.
So Saturday arrived and I quickly became a kitchen widow. You know how I mentioned the whole frozen turkey reminder thing? Yeah, apparently that wasn’t quite enough time for the size of the bird we had purchased. Thankfully it all worked out in the end. There’s an upside to having a ridiculous amount of food – nobody minds waiting a bit, so long as there’s something to nibble on. And nibble on there was, as M had made a metric ton of pigs in blankets for everyone. Fun fact: pigs in blankets are two very different things in the US and the UK. Be prepared to see a few surprised looks if you don’t warn your guests. Being the blend of cultures that we are, we opted for the UK pigs in blankets for our American holiday meal.
All in all, it was a lovely meal with lovely friends, and we ended up sat around the table playing games and drinking wine until late in the evening. As everyone was winding up and going to bed, The Event happened. You know The Event. Every family has something go terribly awry every Thanksgiving. Someone burns the turkey. The sweet potatoes were forgotten. Someone says something horrible at the table and no one is able to make a swift recovery in time. Our guests were absolutely amazing, so the politics was safely not an issue. In fact, it was M and myself that managed the 2015 Thanksgiving Event of the Year.
I went to begin another round of tidying in the kitchen. We didn’t have a dishwasher at the time, so I was having to hand wash all the dishes as we went. As one would expect, it was total carnage in the kitchen at the time when I swept in to clean another load of plates. It was when I reached over the counter to grab a bowl from the back that I managed to catch the tip of our (recently refilled) glass jar of olive oil.
It fell over, rolled across the counter, and then shattered into a million pieces, leaving glass shrapnel and a quart of slick olive oil all over our brick tiled kitchen floor.
Surprisingly for our inebriated state, no one ended up with cuts from the glass. With the immediate danger cleaned up, the next logical step is to mop up, right?
OH MY GOD NO.
But yes, that is what we did next. Drunken logic dictated that obviously we should just get it up with some water and floor soap, so we mopped the entire floor and went to bed whilst it air dried. But when we came down the next morning, it looked like it hadn’t even dried.
Come find out, mopping is the absolute last thing you want to do when it comes to cleaning up oil spills in the kitchen. M of course was reading this the next morning as we gazed in horror at our new glossy floor tiles. Apparently you want to throw as many paper towels and cloth towels you have at it and then let it soak up as much as possible before blotting away the rest in small increments. DO NOT RUB IT ACROSS THE FLOOR.
It ended up taking about 3 months of twice-weekly mopping and letting our socks soak up the grease before it finally faded away, but at least the fond memories of the night have lasted longer.
I am getting into the week of Lasts. Of course there’s the big obvious ones like Last Time to See Friends and Family, Last Chance to Find Something Important I Need, or Last Experiences in America. However, there are also the little ones like Last Laundry Day, Last Night of Cat Purring on My Head, or Last Time Just Sitting in the Living Room with Family that seem to make me even more emotional. The big things you can mentally prep for – it’s the little things that will get you unexpectedly.
It felt kinda weird hanging out and saying goodbye to everyone over the last week because I wasn’t bursting into tears when we hugged, but it’s slowly starting to creep in. I think some of it is also because even though I won’t see everyone again in person for some time, I’ll still be very much in contact with them. Moving across the country four years ago helped with this process immensely. In my last major undertaking I moved thousands of miles to a place where I knew no one and definitely suffered some culture shock. With the last move I didn’t want to particularly be there, but I wasn’t ready to stay alone in the old state at the time and I knew it. However, I’ve since made lifelong friends, grew up a lot emotionally, and had opportunities I would never have gotten back east. I also got the chance to learn who my real friends were back east very quickly, unlike some folks who go years until they realize that they were only ever school friends and not so much in the real world.
With this round, some of the challenges will be the same – thousands of miles away, new school/town, and some culture shock. However, I have distance tested friends in the States, in England, and a good amount spread across Europe and Asia that I know will always be there. I’ve also had some help in acculturation beforehand, and have a great desire to be there and make the absolute best of it. There may be a lot of yes’s and not as much sleep and I may not see much of my flat, but if this isn’t a jolt to go out and enjoy life without hesitation or fear, then what is the point of going out so far on my own? I am both sad and happy, scared and excited, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂