Monday, December 10, 2007


Starting the day before Thanksgiving, my mother, my sister, and my nephew arrived in Bern to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. This is the first time since we left the US that we have seen any family members; so their visit was incredibly welcome and well-received.

I was so excited by the visit, that I took the days off work to spend time with them. I was also maxed out on Paid Time Off, so this was perfect timing for them to show up.

Thanksgiving Dinner
Thursday was pretty much lost to recovering from jet lag for the travellers, so we elected not to have the celebration on the actual Thursday night. The dinner was scheduled for Friday night, and we invited all of the other co-workers in-exile from my office. Chris, Maria and Chris's wife, Miz K. Chris and Miz K. brought the beer, a honey-glazed ham, some sort of cranberry cherry thing, and some delicious glaze for the ham. Maria brought home-made Mac and Cheese from her mom's recipe book.

For you non-Americans reading this blog, please first get caught up on what Thanksgiving is all about, some of the foods eaten on Thanksgiving.

Usually, I don't really like the turkey, and will enjoy all of the side fixing instead of the actual Turkey. In fact, my opinion is that Thanksgiving would be perfectly acceptable if we just forgot the turkey, and ate only the side dishes. The ideal Thanksgiving dinner would contain these items, and not bother with the turkey:
So, thankfully, we had all of these items. Some smuggled into Switzerland from the US, others found here, and some made from scratch. I think the only items we really had to smuggle in were the fried onion bits for the Green Bean Casserole. Hmm. Maybe some other items; I'm not sure.

Like every Thanksgiving, I ate too much. I should have worn my "stretchy-pants" to accommodate for the increased storage capacity. After the dinner, I was overcome with the urge to sleep, a side-effect doubtless caused by the Tryptophan. I made this remark at the dinner table, and Chris responded, "That sure is a long way to say the word Heineken", as he pointed at my glass of beer.

Jake sat next to Chris, and took pleasure at annoying Chris. He poked an increasingly annoyed Chris on the shoulder, saying 'poke, poke'. I guess he was trying to get attention, or just be funny.

"Jake, leave him alone. He knows Brazilian Jiu-jutsu, and probably could pummel you. And he has my permission. " I pointed out to Jake.

Chris's wife remarked, "Yeah, he only doesn't hit people with glasses, and doesn't hit girls." Jake got up from the table to go get his glasses; likely to don them as if they were some impenetrable shield. As Jake was walking back to the bedrooms, Miz K shouted, "Don't you go putting on your sister's clothes!" Well, it was funny at the time.

Fun With Foil
Sitting after dinner, we had a sheet of aluminum foil sitting idle. Conversation and fiddling fingers eventually started making funny things with folded aluminum. I think it started with Josh wanting me to make a paper airplane for him, made of Aluminum foil. I crafted one, threw it, and it flew beautifully. Chris started making Origami, making an unflyable airplane. Somehow, it turned into personal adornments. Earrings, nose rings, glasses.

My sister Deborah made glasses for Jake. I borrowed the glasses for a minute and crafted them to mimic Deborah's first pair of glasses -- a subject of mythic family folklore. Deborah's first pair of glasses were worn in the first grade. The glasses salesman pointed out the first pair of glasses, "These are so beautiful. I think you will really like these." They were turquoise, with blue sparkles, and had the typical harlequin cats-eyes shape that was so prevalent in the late 1960s. I have never seen these glasses. But their legend has lived on within family folklore for decades. As to why Deborah chose these glasses, the first pair that was offered to her, and why she accepted them so readily and eagerly, her response was, "Well I didn't want to hurt the salesman's feelings!" I understand the glasses were later broken in a tragic schoolyard incident, but I'm not fully aware of the details.

Here is my artistic impression, with aluminum foil, of those original glasses, as worn by my sister:

And worn by Jake, along with a pig's snout of foil:

What would foil be without wearing Hip-Hop's best ornament? The Dental Grillz! Chris (right) and I show off our dental fashion, with a mean look to go with it.

We had a really great time. Everybody did. Each foil creation was met with howling laughter. Each creation met with the next, more outrageous foil creation until we got to the dental grillz, when the joke finally got kind of old.

Miz K's local friend, living in Switzerland, originally from Poland, when told of our Thanksgiving adventures had many questions. Among the questions and incredulity of the quantity and quality of the food, finally asked: "Is this the way Americans celebrate this holiday? With Aluminum foil?"

Miz K responded:"The eating part, yes. The foil part? No, it hasn't been, but we had so much fun it will be from now on."

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