Friday, December 16, 2011


One of the perks of being in Peace Corps is that you get double the holidays – the holidays in your country and US holidays. Unfortunately, volunteers only really celebrate the holidays of the country, so I generally only get Samoan holidays. However, if you are PC staff, you get both holidays. The US holidays that PCVs still get to celebrate are the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. On the 4th of July, we were actually all excused from school to come into town and celebrate at the US embassy house with sparklers. While we don’t get the day of Thanksgiving off, we do get to celebrate Thanksgiving with turkeys, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all kinds of desserts on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The way it works in Samoa is the Charge d’Affairs cooks the turkeys (which have to be specially imported because you can’t find them in Samoa), some stuffing, and some pies, and then the PCVs bring side dishes and other desserts so it turns out as a pot-luck/buffet style Thanksgiving with plenty of options. In the e-mail, they told us to bring sides, salads, or desserts, so I thought I would be clever and bring a fruit salad. Considering how delicious all the fruit in Samoa is, I shouldn’t have been surprised that I wasn’t the only person who thought of fruit salad – not by a long shot. There was plenty of fruit salad, and plenty of plain pineapple intended for dessert. That’s OK, fruit is delicious, and pineapple doubly so. I firmly contend that pineapple stands alone; nothing improves the taste of pineapple – it doesn’t need to be mixed with other fruits, toppings, or put on pizza. Nothing beats plain pineapple.

There was plenty of food and a table full of dessert. Everybody had at least one overloaded plate, and most had two or more. Then there was dessert. At Thanksgiving last year, there was more of a variety of desserts – key lime pie, three types of cake, some ice cream, cookies, pumpkin pie – and of course I took a little bit of as many as I could fit on my plate. This year dessert consisted of pineapple/fruit salad, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie, so I took a little bit of each again. I’ve never had pecan pie before and it was surprisingly tasty.

After everyone ate enough to begin entering a food coma, they set up the Wii. The new Charge d’Affairs has a family – an 11-year-old son, a 6 or 7-year-old son, and a little baby, so they had plenty of options. It started with the kids dominating at Rock Band or whatever it is where you play guitar and sing – I joined in a “band,” but we were always booed off stage. It was quickly taken over and turned into Mario Kart so that four people could play at a time and everybody could take a turn. I raced once, and in the time it took me to remember how to play Mario Kart on the Wii, everybody else was at least halfway through the first lap. I didn’t even get to finish the race because they all finished so far ahead of me. I was a little out of my league though – 12-year-olds will always know more about video games than I do. I preferred to spectate after that.

I’m glad we get Thanksgiving because that is one of my favorite holidays, especially all the delicious food! I don’t have to sacrifice my stuffing and mashed potatoes.

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