A Danish Thanksgiving with a group of Strangers
This year's Thanksgiving was a bit different than most because (1) I was not in the US to celebrate it, (2) I ate with a group of complete strangers, and (3) the meal was prepared by a Danish person. All of these factors produced one of the best Thanksgiving I have ever had and makes me love traveling that much more.
Since Thanksgiving is a holiday that is best spent with family, surrounding yourself with a huge group of people and eating amazing food until you have to button your jeans. It is filled with laughter, storytelling, football, and a good warm feeling in your heart. This was exactly what this Thanksgiving was even though it was so different than how I have normally celebrated it.
I thought being in Copenhagen for Thanksgiving would make it a bit difficult to experience the holiday spirit but I am so glad I was wrong. I was hoping to somehow celebrate the holiday and I found exactly that on Couchsurfing. Peter, a very generous host and amazing chef, created an event to celebrate Thanksgiving with traditional cooking and American football. He normally celebrate with his friends but he thought it would be a nice change to invite strangers to share the holiday with. Thank you so much Peter! He was doing all of the cooking and just asked us to bring our own beverage. I immediately messaged him to attend! I didn't know what to expect but I knew it would be a very different experience so I was pretty excited.
I came an hour late since the bus system in Denmark isn't the most dependable or efficient but the dinner hadn't started yet and everyone was sitting around the living room talking. There were other Americans, two other Danish people, a girl from Turkey, and an English guy. It was a pretty diverse group of people! Wine and beers were floating so everyone got comfortable with each other and there wasn't one moment of silence. The football game being played on TV was ignored the entire night, which I say is a very good indication of a great evening.
The food Peter cooked was absolutely DE-LI-CIOUS. And he did everything on his own! The turkey was really juicy and the gravy greatly complimented it. We also had a summer salad, mashed sweet potatoes, top-notch stuffing, and a really great potatoes mushroom combo. Although It looked really simple, everything was impeccable! Oh I forgot to mention that delicious banana cream pie he made for the dessert. From start to finish, the meal was perfect and I left extremely happy and satisfied with a huge food baby.
We stayed until around midnight drinking wine, eating, and talking. It was such a great time! We all come from different backgrounds, different age groups, but were being able to connect over food and drinks just proves how small this world is and how much traveling really changes your perspective on everything. It showed me how much putting yourself out there and being a bit uncomfortable can go a long way. We talked about everything from running a marathon in North Korea to eating spam in Pho (which I still don't understand because I don't think he was in Vietnam...). I ended up hanging out with one of the girls and Peter the next day. I really appreciate the Couchsurfing community and other's willingness to open their home to complete strangers. Most aren't able to do this but ones that do will tell you how much of an impact it has on their lives. Without it, I might have been eating a disgusting 7-11 meal.
A group of strangers turned into family <3 Again, thank you so much for the hospitality Peter. It was one of the best nights during my travels so far.