I am SO good at alliteration, no? Also, I was supposed to post this about a month ago… ooops! Just pretend like it’s the time immediately following Thanksgiving and not 10 days before Christmas?
For this, my first Thanksgiving in Senegal, I was thankful for a number of things (namely the ability to partake in the consumption of REAL Thanksgiving cuisine at the U.S. Ambassador’s House in Dakar with my beautiful Peace Corps Family… an amazing experience to say the least). I could go on and on, but that would be boring. Let me explain in top-5 list form to make things easier for you, my dedicated readers (all 3 of you or whatever that pathetic number of followers I have is now?):
1. Amazing friends and family the world over: It was quite a site to see over 150 people assembled at the U.S. Ambassador’s House in Dakar, coming together for the best holiday ever (in my opinion) to say thanks and partake in a delicious pot-luck Thanksgiving. It was certainly one of the most unique Thanksgiving spreads I think I will ever see in my life and was truly an enjoyable evening with some incredible people I am coming to call my family over here in Senegal. I even got to have a chat with my actual family right after dinner, over 1,000 miles away, still in the cooking stages of their own Thanksgiving. To all my friends and family, I love you guys! Happy Holidays! Enough mush… NEXT!
2. My Mama’s Apple Pie Recipe: Homemade butter-crust and deliciously crisp granny-smith apples drizzled with sweet and sugary spices, I was lucky enough to be able to make my mom’s delicious apple pie this year to bring to Thanksgiving Dinner at the U.S. Ambassador’s House in Dakar. After going on a wild-goose chase for ingredients and cooking supplies, I was ready to cook some pie. With the help of my awesome sous-chef and fellow PCV, Monica, we averted serious Pie Crisis when the crust would absolutely NOT work with us and kept falling apart into tiny little pieces (one of the consequences of pure butter crusts) and eventually went with an avant-garde design choice of placing small, square pieces on top of the apple mixture as the top crust. Needless to say, it was probably the most unattractive pie I’ve ever made (it was put out near to last on the dessert table at the Ambassador’s house that evening… sad face), but damn did it taste delicious as always! Thanks, Mama!
3. Hair Straighteners: OK, this is where the list starts to get weird. No but seriously, I hadn’t straightened my hair in over 5 months and miraculously, another PCV happened to have one at Six. My response: “NO WAY, I CAN HAVE STRAIGHT HAIR AGAIN?!?!” This may seem like an extremely superficial thing to be thankful for, but go ahead and judge all you want because you know what… I don’t care! Living with naturally curly/wavy hair my whole life, I have come to appreciate the wonders of heat applied to my sometimes, insane hair and it felt nice to be, how shall I say, normal looking again? OH yeah, straight hair AND makeup… shoooot, I didn’t even recognize myself.
4. Senegalese Dance Clubs: So anyone who really knows me knows that I LOVE dancing and that I take my dancing seriously… whether that involves a few drinks or not is beside the point. Over the course of our short Dakar Thanksgiving Holiday, my friends and I found several AWESOME Senegalese nightclubs including one called Calypso. Calypso and other Senegalese dance clubs may play the same songs over and over (hmm, sounds familiar… Roomer’s anyone?), have strange male prostitutes wandering the dance floors attempting to “make a dollar” by grinding up on you randomly, feature Senegalese people, men and women, literally “Dancin’ with themselves” in the important interior decorating addition of floor-to-ceiling mirrors for the majority of the evening, and sometimes force you to buy alcoholic beverages (“C’est obligatoire…” Really? Obligatory? Oh ok, I guess….), but if you look past all these insignificant details and get in the zone to DANCE, you won’t even notice that six-foot male prostitute sneaking up behind you. No, but seriously… wait, I guess what I’m really thankful for here is dancing… and maybe not so much the Senegalese dance clubs. Hm.
5. The Lord of the Rings and my semi-artistic (but not really?) abilities: As one of my first theme parties in Senegal, the Dakar/Thies region decided to go all Lord of the Rings on you’re a$S and yeah… you get the idea, elves, wizard (staffs?), Sauron eyes (which I DREW!), Frodo, rings, blah blah blah. Some of my friends and I decided to be the Eye of Sauron (see photo) atop his tower in Mordor represented by all black clothing? Sure, why not!
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to find them all and in the darkness… find them the resident late-night bean sandwich man near six? But seriously, it was a great night and a nice way to end a Dakar Thanksgiving week full of friends, food, fancy time, artisanal expositions, and tomfoolery.
Artisanal Exposition? Say what? Why am I sneaking that one in there now, you ask? You want to know more, you say? WELL…
I am too lazy and you must wait until my next post.