I am missing Thanksgiving. I knew this simple fact as soon as I left home for South America, but it never truly hit me until this week when I heard about the family plans and realized that I wouldn’t be a part of them. That I would be in a strange country that doesn’t celebrate any form of harvest festival this time of year… well that was just an extra hit. But this is me in my “adventuring mode”, so I wasn’t going to just lay down and take that feeling. No, I was going to introduce this country to thanksgiving.
I started the planning process when Mike picked me up from the airport, since it turns out that he had already been hoping to do a thanksgiving-like dinner anyways. We did a bit of basic planning on the days leading up to Friday (Writers Note: since New Zealand is +18 hours from the USA, we’d celebrate on the Friday following Thanksgiving to be celebrating at the same time as the USA) and I did some shopping that Thursday to pick up the last few things that we didn’t have. The plan was that Mike would cook up a big roast chicken, since Turkeys are ~$20 per lb, and I’d make the stuffing and apple pie crust. We got the recipes and invited the peoples, and then just waited for Friday to finally come.
When it did come we took the morning slow, relaxing and calling home to “E-Visit” with our families back in the United States. I called everyone and set up Skype to video chat with the family, having a really nice conversation with some of the Family I had left back in the States… unfortunately my Dad and Stepmom were hunting up in Northern Arizona at the time, so I couldn’t Skype with them too. After the chat I laid back and watched some of the “Adventure Time!” show that Mike had, and then headed out to the store to get the last few pieces of the feast that we needed.
With Ice Cream and hard apple cider in hand I biked back from the supermarket, and almost as soon as I got back to the flat we started cooking and prepping. The prep work took all of the afternoon and into the evening, but by the time people started showing up around seven thirty everything was ready and the apple pie was heating up in the oven. Mike got to play White Knight for one of our friends named Carla, since she didn’t have a ride over, and in the end it was Carla, Mike, his roommates Jen, Storm and Spanish, myself, and Mikes friends Giles and Kevin. A good group to help eat the rediculous amount of food that we had prepared.
We ate and chatted, joked and drank, and I got to know all of the people that I hadn’t met before by hearing random stories about their adventures. Such as how Storm and Spanish got their names and Carla’s adventures in Japan. Long but entertaining stories, and it was a great way for everyone to hang out and bond together nicely… that and I got to relate a few of my travel stories to date, and I’ll never complain about being called upon to play the storyteller, heh.
After the meal was over and it started getting a bit too late to continue hanging out with everyone at Mike’s flat we headed over to Prime’s house (Prime is the nickname for a second girl named Jen) to chill and smoke some hookah. Unfortunately we had a bit of a miss-communication and Prime was in the middle of sexy-time with her boyfriend when we arrived… but she was polite enough to throw on a towel and let us onto the upstairs deck before retreating back to her room. (Ed Note: I love New Zealand) We had grabbed drinks, set up and primed the hookah, and were all ready to go before we realized that we didn’t have the hose for the hookah, thus making smoking the shesha completely impossible. If only someone could have saved us!
Fortunately, my parents put me through five years of Mechanical Engineering school, so I accepted the challenge of the incomplete hookah with grace and humility, and within ten minutes we were smoking some very nice mint and strawberry flavored smoke. How, you may ask? Well. I had found an old paper towel roll, some aluminum foil, and used that to build a makeshift hose, using my hair elastics and some parachute chord that I keep on my keychain to secure the system and keep it air-tight. Yep… Mechanical Engineers do rule.
The rest of the night was laidback and chill, where we passed the jury-rigged hookah around and chatted about life in Christchurch – comparing it to other cities that we had all lived in. Giles, Mike and I talked about the random cities of the States, while Kevin enlightened us on the rest of New Zealand and Carla discussed living in various cities across Japan. I really need to visit Japan someday, it honestly sounds like a really amazing place to visit, though I don’t think that I’d actually want to live there. But we hung out for nearly two hours (Prime did come up to visit us pretty soon after we got settled in) before heading back into the car to drop people back at their flats and bikes, and Mike and I headed to sleep in preparation for the road trip that we’d be starting the next day.