Our Second Thanksgiving — An Expat Update!

Hellllloooooo world!

Well, it feels like it’s been so long since I did a blog post about James and I going on an adventure that I found myself not quite sure what to put in this one. Still, since I failed to put it together and get it out last week, I really had to pull myself together over the weekend to tell you all about our Thanksgiving in Tulsa.

Before anything else, I just want to say that we feel beyond fortunate to have met so many kind, generous, and just all-round wonderful people in the time we’ve been living in the US. Our various friends have taken us in to celebrate major American holidays with them, shown us around different parts of the US and given us great recommendations for our wild road trips, and we are indebted to everyone who has opened their hearts and their homes to us since we first moved over here 18 months ago (give or take a fortnight). It can be incredibly difficult being away from your home for long periods of time—especially during the times of the year that are all about family—so we appreciate beyond words that so many lovely people have taken us in.

Accordingly, we were absolutely thrilled that our friend Jordan invited us to spend Thanksgiving in Tulsa with her family, and had an amazing time for our second traditional Thanksgiving celebrations. [Extra bonus: a cat called Buddy with a loud meow and a paradoxical need to walk away from you even while he asks to be petted]. Her parents, Lloyd and Brenda, cooked up an amazing feast for us to gorge on: and gorge we did! We spent a wonderful afternoon and evening eating cheese, talking about everything under the sun, and working our way through innumerable delicious foods: turkey, potatoes, roast vegetables, pecan and pumpkin pies… I decided to bring a (seasonally-out-of-place) Australian summer dessert to the chilly hallowed halls of our American Thanksgiving, and somehow (seriously, it’s a mystery), managed to produce some of the best-looking pavlovas I’ve ever made. I have a theory about how I did this, but I’ll have to wait until I make the next one to really test it out.

The naked meringues, looking light and beautiful!

Five mini pavlovas ready for devouring! As you can see, culinary photography is truly not my forte.

After dinner—and a fair bit of dessert—we introduced Lloyd, Brenda and Jordan to a game called ‘Linkee’ that we discovered at the hands of my family earlier in the year (and which I heartily recommend to all and sundry!). You probably need at least 3 people to play, and the more the merrier, but it is a lot of fun and a great family game. Not surprisingly, I slept like the dead that night, full of turkey and pie and general good wishes towards the world!

Ready to experience the joys of Hodges!

We started our Friday with breakfast pie, both pumpkin and pecan, which honestly I think may have been a mistake: I felt pretty sick afterwards! We whiled away the morning lounging around watching TED talks, chatting, and, for me, powering through another novel before my library loan had the chance to expire on me (I just scraped in, phew!). Later, we headed out just before lunch to check out Jordan’s favourite local pub/cafe, Hodges Bend. Being one of those rare creatures who finds coffees absolutely repulsive, I was glad to hear that they had hot chocolates (though there wasn’t any on the menu), but my expectations were relatively low. Imagine my shock, then, when what was delivered to me was one of the best hot chocolates I’ve had in a long time—even places that make good coffee can’t necessarily be trusted to make a good hot chocolate, so I was impressed. I also feel pretty comfortable recommending it to all and sundry if you decide to pay a visit to Tulsa, as their food options were similarly delectable, and their alcoholic range seemed enormous.

Some wandering around after our snack-terlude served to confirm my suspicions: Tulsa, unlike Lawton, can boast what seems like an endless array of great places to eat, beautiful little boutique stores and picturesque parks. We’re more than a little envious. Most interesting among these was probably the intriguingly-named ‘The Centre of the Universe’, a quaint spot in the middle of town within which you exist in your own personal echo chamber. If you stand in the middle of the stone circle and speak, you can hear your own voice echoed back to you: it’s both beautiful, and rather unnerving.

Standing at the centre of the universe, with the centre of my universe.

We had the chance to check out the beautifully-decorated Prairie Brewery: I highly recommend anyone travelling to/through Tulsa around the Christmas holidays to duck in and have a look! I can’t speak for the food there, but it also smelled delicious, and if anyone does try it, I’d like to hear their verdict! Later that afternoon we packed ourselves up with a fair haul of leftovers for the week (though sensibly declining to take any pie home with us!), and hit the road back to Lawton. As always, it’s nice to be back home and to have a fairly relaxed weekend (with some chores, some study and some blogging thrown in!).

What happens when you leave the sunroof open during an Oklahoman Autumn!

I’m also excited to report that I finally submitted my entry for the Overland Neilma Sydney ‘Travel’ short story competition on Thursday morning as we wended our way to Tulsa (so thanks to James for driving and letting me get that done!). I think it’s definitely one of my best pieces to date—though as I told James, I always think that until I’ve submitted them, and then I think they suck—so it’ll be exciting to see how it goes, and my fingers and toes are crossed!

We’re heading off to New Mexico on Friday for a weekend of diving to get our Advanced Diver certification, so fingers crossed that we kick that out of the park. I hope any American readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and everyone has a great week!

—Ana.

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