Thanksgiving the Fifth

I know they say that time flies when you’re having fun, but I still was surprised at how quickly the fifth Thanksgiving BV and I have hosted here came along. This year has, in general, blown by, but it seems like only yesterday I was discovering the joys of the Metro and learning how important it is to order a turkey from the local butcher early… ah, to be young and naive about turkey availability again!

I was also once naive about how weirdly enjoyable this part is.

I was also once naive about how weirdly enjoyable this part is.


A rare sighting of BV in his natural habitat.


Bondage Bird, aka Hank.

We also continued our unintentional tradition of having a bird much bigger than what we asked for. Hank weighed in at 7.3kg, and we requested something more in the 5-6kg range. *Sigh* But BV happily packaged up turkey to freeze and throw on the grill in the coming year. Thanksgiving leftovers are the gift that keeps on giving.

Like the previous four years, we had a houseful of people and a really lovely evening. At the risk of sounding like a complete cheeseball, it is so wonderful to have people coming in, exclaiming about how excited they are, and how they’ve come to look forward to this day every year. Not to mention the fact that someone is always willing to come out early and help, bring a delicious side dish, dessert, or even a chair or two.

At times it can seem like such a struggle to find the kinds of people you want to surround yourself with, whether you are in your home country or not. And cheesiness be damned, it is really wonderful to realize that it took some time, but you have got some really damn good people here. Warm fuzzies for everyone!

Those damn good people are also great about doing things like taking pictures of the finished product, thank goodness. Usually at this point in the cooking process my brain is figuring out my next six steps and have completely lost track of my phone so it’s nice to have witnesses who are actually on top of the documentation aspect. Big thanks to N. and S. for the next two photos….


I am straight up impressed with how clean the kitchen looks here, considering this was taken very shortly before we planned to eat. It did not stay this orderly for long though.


Feast mode!

Ditto for the table. We started strong but ended up having to put in an extra seat for another couple who arrived a bit later. But everyone fit comfortably this year, and there was plenty for all. Plus leftovers, of course. Now if only the magical dish gnomes had shown up to deal with the aftermath for us!


Previous Thanksgivings here in the Dorf

One * Two * Three * Four



Sunday Snapshots: A Whole Lotta Pope

Krakow, Poland 2009

Krakow, Poland 2009

If you ever find yourself in Krakow, prepare to see this guy’s face everrrrrywhere. To say that the Polish people still love Pope John Paul II seems like a gross understatement. The souvenir stands in the main square mostly feature two choices: JP II, or dragons. To be honest, I was slightly surprised that no stands featured dragons being ridden by the former Pope. I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time.


*P.S.~ if you’ve never read my recap of this particularly absurd trip to Krakow, feel free to check out the full-length version here.

Sunday Snapshots: Fall Rolls On

Potsdam, 2012

Sanssouci, Potsdam, 2012

I just looked at the weather forecast for the next week, and it looks like rain nearly every day. *Sigh*

That makes me extremely happy to be able to go back through pictures like this one, which was taken on a gorgeously fading fall afternoon, as BV and I wandered the sprawling grounds of the Sanssouci palace, not far from Berlin. Whatever you may think about royalty (past or present), those people knew how to do a garden. Like many other palaces, Sanssouci was mostly for pleasure, which means endless pathways, fountains galore, oddly ornate little outbuildings, and tree-lined allées. And swans. Don’t forget the swans.

Sunday Snapshots: Changing Days


Burgruine Neideck*, Upper Franconia 2012

Every fall, pictures of pumpkin patches and apple orchards flood the internet along with countless Instagrams of pumpkin-spiced beverages. But for me, one of the best things about the fall is the constantly changing light.

On this day, we hiked from one castle ruin to another, and flipping through the album I couldn’t believe that we had encountered so many seasons in just one day, and one valley at that. When we started in the morning there was snow on top of the hills, but the stones were sun-warmed by the late afternoon. Just shows that even when the days are short, there is no end to the variety.

*Look familiar?

Sunday Snapshots: Perfection

Berchtesgaden, 2012

Berchtesgaden, 2012

Every time I see this picture I question why I am still not living in it. Then I remember that whenever we see real estate ads when we are in the mountains I almost pass out from sticker shock. If my family came (at one point in time, many, many years ago) from the area around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, shouldn’t I just be able to go there and lay claim to some land or something?

Sunday Snapshots: Symmetry

Konopiště Castle, 2009

Konopiště Castle, 2009

A short walk from the train station in Benešov, is Konopiště Castle. Like most things in the Czech Republic, it’s a perfect day trip if you just need to get out of Prague for a minute.

The main claim to fame of the castle is that it was the last home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, aka the dude whose assassination kicked off the first World War. I honestly don’t even recall if we did a tour or not*, but my memories of the day spent there are that a cat followed us from the forest to the castle, and that the gardens were exceptionally lovely. I have a deep and abiding love of things that are symmetrical.

*This is what happens when they don’t let you take pictures inside.

Sunday Snapshots: Hallo?

Freiburg, Germany 2012

Freiburg, 2012

Four years ago exactly, BV and I were on our very first weekend away together. Upon arriving in Freiburg*, our first order of business was a climb up the hill to get a view over the city center. At the top of the hill, we found a few random bits and bobs of artwork, including this guy. No idea what he is, or why he is up there, but this picture makes me giggle whenever I see it.

*If you want to see more pictures of Freiburg im Breisgau, click away!