It started out as a group of five and we grew and grew and grew. By Saturday we were a group of 17.
Our guests began to arrive and we had a fun group to celebrate with. Janet, of course, co-hosted. She is a fellow Grand Rapidian as are the Heredia family, Jason & Susan and their daughters Perry, Teddy and Ava. Our friend Rommel joined us and we were lucky that his brother Ronald was visiting from Manilla and able to come as well. Vesper celebrated her first Thanksgiving with us and enjoyed the whole event very much. Jeff & Amanda Ge and their daughters Isabelle and Angelina are from China, but Jeff also attended Michigan State. And two new hires to the marketing team also joined us. Jenkin Au grew up in Vancouver and so was quite familiar with Thanksgiving even though the Canadians celebrate in October.(I don't think he minded the later date.) And Penny Ping is from Beijing but graduated in May from Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Calvin is a huge rival of Aquinas I might add. So our group was very eclectic in all ways and we had a lively time with much laughter.
Since ovens are small and turkeys are large we decided to order a pre-cooked turkey from Oliver's. Everyone brought something to add to the festivities and our feast quickly took shape. We did have one glitch for the day. About two hours before our guests were scheduled to arrive, all of the outlets in the apartment blew out. We knew it was a circuit problem, but flipping the one that had tripped did nothing and it also did not explain why the rest of the apartment went out as well.
So we called our wonderful landlord who got us fixed up with an electrician who arrived 30 minutes later. It was an easy fix, but he wanted to be sure about the connector for the built in oven. So here we are watching him pull the oven out (with the yams and the dressing inside) to check on something that is still working. I kept trying to distract him, but to no avail. So he declares everything is A-OK and we go back to our preparations.
Luckily Janet lives two floors up and we had already planned to heat the turkey in her oven.Between the two kitchens we were all set to cook. (I might also add that we borrowed chairs and stools, dishes, flatware and even a game for the kids. We kept the elevator in use for a lot of trips.) And then when I went to light my oven to reheat the items in there, it wouldn't light. Luckily the yams and the dressing were still quite warm so we just sighed, laughed and moved on.
It was finally time for the feast and Ken introduced the Guest of honor.
We gathered around the table to give thanks for all of the blessings we have been given. This has been a year filled with many ups and downs. In looking back we know that our blessings outweigh our trials and that makes us truly grateful. And though it is always difficult being far from home and family during the holidays, we are most thankful for our friends here in Hong Kong who have helped to make this our home as well.
It was a real treat to once again have a kids table. It has been a long time. And what a gorgeous group of girls we had.
After dinner it was Finding Nemo for the girls and clean-up and chatting for the grown-ups.
I would not have believed it possible to fit five people working in my tiny kitchen, but we managed to get a nice rhythm going and everything was cleaned up and put away in no time.
And then it was time for dessert. Janet made two apple pies and brought ice cream for the a la mode lovers and I made a pumpkin cheesecake complete with whipped cream for the top. Everyone descended so quickly I could barely get some photos.
Following dessert it was more relaxing and conversation.
I think the day was a memorable one for all of us. And now the Christmas season can officially begin.