Monday, November 22, 2010

Le Plus Terrible Thanksgiving du Monde

The least blurry pic of me and all of my roomies. From L to R: Laura (British), Valerie, Romain, and Joel (all French)
So we did Thanksgiving this weekend. And it was, in a word, TERRIBLE. This is of course because "terrible" is young French kid slang for "freaking amazing." Sort of like how we used to say "bad" or "wicked" to mean good... you get what I mean. Indeed though, this was a Thanksgiving for the books.

My roommates and I had been planning this event for about a month, as we also wanted to have a housewarming party at the same time. Little did we know what a party it would be. We decided to make it a two part event, with Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon, and the party portion in the evening. That way people could come for one or both parts. We did the Thanksgiving dinner portion pitch-in style, which was really cool because then we not only had traditional American dishes, but we had some from Spain, France, and other places as well. We had to have chicken instead of turkey, because apparently you can't find a whole turkey in France any time before December (they only eat turkey at Christmas... seriously, you can't even find turkey lunch meat around here), but when it was on my plate, smothered in mashed potatoes and gravy, even I couldn't tell the difference. So we had chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, several more exotic plates from our international friends, candied yams (definitely may favorite part of the meal), cheesy potato bake, and all kinds of other deliciousness. My friend Ben and I also collaborated to make a green bean casserole, which was a feat as you cannot find canned cream of mushroom soup or French-fried onions around here. We improvised by making a powdered mushroom soup with a little less water than called for, and we battered and fried the onions ourselves. It actually turned out great, and I was sorry we hadn't made a second batch, because the first one went quickly. We had probably about 15-20 people for dinner (less than half of which were American, haha), all dressed up in our "church clothes," and it was a really nice time of eating, socializing, and drinking wine. I think it was just what I needed to cure that little pang of holiday homesickness.

After dinner, everyone relaxed for a while, changed out of their nice clothes, and more people began to arrive, many of whom were bearing gifts of alcohol. This is the part where the parents may want to stop reading, haha. Nothing too debaucherous happened, but if you want to preserve your image of me as sweet and angelic, this is not going to help :-).

So after everyone changed, we cranked up the music and got down to business on the party portion of the evening. We (myself and my fellow Americans) started off by sharing another very important American tradition with our international friends: beer pong. My friend David and I did well in the first couple rounds, but soon got schooled by my friend Allison (who claimed she hadn't played in years...lies), and a French guy who was super quick on the uptake. No one was skunked or trolled, so no naked laps were taken and no one had to sit under the table, but it was probably a good thing that this was earlier in the party, rather than later. Then two of my lovely roomies disappeared to the kitchen for a while and came back with plates and plates of food, ie, round two of Thanksgiving dinner. This is why I love Europeans, because they have no qualms about eating another entire meal at 10pm. And none of this meal involved leftovers from the afternoon, either. It was an entirely. New. Meal. Yes.

SO there was more eating and more socializing, a VIP sesh in my room with some friends, and then all the chairs were cleared out of the living room to make room for DANCING. Yay dancing! This was when I think having the international crowd was most interesting, because we all took turns DJ-ing and ended up with a pretty interesting mix of tunes. We had American hip-hop, French hip-hop, some middle Eastern stuff, salsa, reggaeton, pop, Britney, all kinds of fun music, and everyone was enjoying it. It was really funny to see different groups of people rocking out to different songs. I think my favorite moment, though, was when the Cupid Shuffle came on. For those of you who don't know, the Cupid Shuffle is like a modernized, club version of the electric slide. Same basic beat and step, just a "cooler" song. Anyway, if there's one thing French kids love, it's a group dance like that. So David and I taught approximately 40 people how to Cupid Shuffle and it was probably the highlight of my night.

After the Cupid Shuffle things start to get a little fuzzy, haha. We danced some more, and then I retreated to my room with several of my friends for most of the rest of the night, as it got quite crazy downstairs. I think, all told, we had upwards of 60 guests at the peak of the party. I know that the cops also showed up at some point, but just to make sure everything was alright and to tell us to turn down the music. They didn't even come in the house. Since the drinking age here is 18, we didn't have any underage drinkers, so we didn't have much to worry about anyway. I think I finally got to sleep around 5 am, after people quit randomly coming into my room, and after the thumping bass of the stereo stopped reverberating through my floor.

So yeah, that was Thanksgiving in France. And it was one I will remember for the rest of my life. I slept until 3pm yesterday, haha, and I'm still feeling the residual effects in my thighs, my lungs, and my liver. But you can't have fun without a few consequences to remind you why you don't have fun like that every weekend, right? :-)

Pics on facebook too, by the way.

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