Okay, before I reveal my five big secrets to the perfect thanksgiving for one, I will give you a brief update on the past week and a half or so. Last week I had the special privilege to watch Katrin’s kids perform in their music concerts. Ferdinand is an incredible pianist, and by incredible I mean genius. The kid is fourteen and playing well enough to travel back in time and compete with Beethoven or even Mozart, and no that is not just me being nice. After i=his concert, we went to see Anna rock a performance on the violin. She is nine and I could listen to her play violin for days, weeks, and years. It was so cool. Maybe they can teach me some of their skill. I go over to their house on Sunday to make apple cobbler with Ferdinand and Anton. According to them, they don’t know what cobbler is! Can you believe it?
Aside from the musical ingenuity and excitement of cobbler, we got our first true snow fall here in Salzburg on Monday night! It was only an inch, maybe two, but it was beautiful. I will take advantage of how beautiful I think it is now because I know that come February, it won’t be so beautiful anymore. Anyways, you know what the first snow fall means. . . CANADIAN CRACK! Don’t worry it’s not a drug. . .at least not a classified one. My college roommate Bri, who is from Toronto, introduced me to this lovely tradition. Basically whenever it snows, you heat up maple syrup and run outside. You make a small mound of snow and dump the syrup on top. Make sure you have a spoon, and dig in. It is delicious and it is addicting I introduced my new roommate Jordan to it, and I think we have a new member of the canadian crack anonymous.
The last bit of news is my trip today to Munich, Germany. I visited Dachau, which is where the first concentration camp was. While I cannot say I enjoyed it, I can say I learned something and became even more appreciative of the life I have toady. After that, I brought some positivity into my life by hitting up the Christmas Markets it Munich. For those who don’t know, christmas markets are basically just a bunch of stand that sell everything from food, to punsch (some type of alcohol, heated up wine I think.), to christmas wreaths, soap, hats, and much, much more. Munich was like a winter wonderland. There were christmas lights everywhere. It was amazing, but that is about it so onto the Five Step to Thanksgiving For One!
1. Buy more food than 3 people can eat . . . in two days.
Yes, I bought way too much food. I think I get that from my Italian family. I had an 8-pound turkey from the market. They had caught it the day before I bought it. It came with the whole bird – head, neck, feathers and all. Granted the turkey was delicious, eight pounds is a lot for one person to eat. I supplemented the turkey with stuffing, roasted root vegetables, the perfect mashed potatoes (made without causing 11 burn blisters on my stomach – Sorry Prisca), cornbread soufflé, green beans, roasted eggplant, more stuffing, gravy, salad, molasses cookies, and of course, pumpkin pie! It is safe to say, I will be eating leftovers for the next two weeks.
2. Pretend that you are not eating alone….by eating enough for two at a candlelight dinner.
It is not a true Brown style holiday if you don’t spend the days before the holiday slaving over creating the perfect table and cleaning parts of your house or apartment that you did not even know existed. I did not choose to do these things, it kind of just happened without myself even knowing what I was doing. I mopped my balcony, and dusted a pillow. It is safe to say I was priscillizing. (Priscillizing (v). (pro. pree-skill-izing) – performing time-wasting tasks with the upmost determination and ignoring and destroying all obstacles standing in your way.) Anyways, my roommate must have thought I was crazy. I completely rearranged the apartment, moving the dinner table into the common room covering it in a tablecloth and setting it for two. I spent over an hour priscillizing on the table. Finally, I was able to come to a decision. Yes, setting the table for two and having candles is an absolute necessity because then you can literally eat for two. You can sit in one chair for your first helping and switch to the second place setting for seconds. It makes perfect sense. Clean fork, clean glass, clean plate….and no judgment. Don’t forget to light the candles!
3. Put on a sophisticated outfit that your fashionista cousin would describe as chic.
I look darn good….in my gym shorts and t-shirt. It really showed off my freshly shaved legs and my stellar prosciutto style quadriceps. If I am bring honest though, I really did have a nice outfit picked out, and I was going to wear it, but I didn’t want to make my guests feel bad about their outfits.
4. Use social media to make appear as if you are not alone.
Pictures, pictures, pictures. Take pictures of everything you cook and the table set for two and post it on every social media site known to mankind. That is the other benefit of setting the table for two and making everything look eloquent. When you take these pictures of your delicious food and the table set for two, people who scan over the pictures in their news feed will actually think the dinner is for two. Also, this is a great way to make people jealous of your perfect non-chunky mashed potatoes. Pictures also make things look a heck of a lot better than they actually are, and because you are alone nobody will ever know the real truth about what it really looked or tasted like. Don’t worry, everything tasted great….or did it.
5. Come to the recognition that you may be eating by yourself, but you are never truly alone…. especially if you have a family like mine.
My morning started off better than I could have imagined. After my meal for two, I went on a walk and came home to the most exciting piece of mail. My grandmother and grandfather (Dad’s side) sent me a really nice Thanksgiving card bringing such a great smile to my face. There is nothing like feeling loved by your grandparents. Later on in the night, my teammate Marion (not Marina!) came over to eat some leftovers. At this point, I Skyped home and could not help but smile when all I could see was the camera spinning and turning side to side, with all my aunts and uncles fighting to get their face to the front of the camera. Of course it would not be a Carpinito holiday if I did not have my annual workout with Zio Eugenio….and I won yet again, and lastly, it would really not be a holiday if my family members did not find the silliest thing to rave about. It is official, the door in my apartment is the same as Nonna’s and I now have 27 people to vouch for that. Out of the 45-minute phone call to home, probably 10 minutes was spent on this door.
In the end, it was the perfect first thanksgiving away from home because at the end of the day, I realized that I was not alone by any means. There is a quotation that says, “Home is wherever I am”. I always thought that quotation was silly, but yesterday changed my thinking. I had excessive food, and the psycho cleaning modes, the obsessive seek for perfection, the stress of a perfect outfit, the overuse of photography, the overeating, and most importantly, the love of a great family. At the end of the day, I was able to see that I may be 3700 miles away, but “home” is always with me.