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11/26/09 3id al-Shokr

[[Disclaimer: Sorry for the blog absence...I've been out doing instead of inside and writing. I promise, I have tons of things to blog about. It's just that some of them are big, heavy, serious things (in addition to the usual set of entertaining sketches of life in Morocco), so I've been putting off writing them down until I had a better handle on things. So I'm going to start off with an easy blog, about food, and work my way up to the big stuff.]]

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

As my American readers know, today is a major American holiday. For my Moroccan and other international readers: Thanksgiving is the holiday where we gather with family and loved ones to share love and warmth and reflect on all that we have to be grateful for.

Last year, when I tried to explain Thanksgiving to Moroccans, I translated it into Tamazight as l-Wess win l-Hamdullah, ie the Day of Thanks-be-to-God. I figured it was a fair translation, but when my better-educated sitemate heard about it, she bit down a laugh and explained that in classical Arabic, it should be l-3id al-Shokr, the Holiday of Thanks.

That sounds way better, so I've used it ever since.

Of course, Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday*, so it's not celebrated here.

Correction - it's not celebrated by Moroccans. Except for the ones invited to the Thanksgiving celebrations put on by nearly every American Peace Corps Volunteer, Embassy staffer, or other ex-pat cherishing a beloved holiday here in our adopted country.

I've gone to two Thanksgiving dinners this year - as I did last year, for that matter. One was this past weekend, with beloved friends up north, whose endless hospitality make their home a haven for so many of my favorite PCVs. About a dozen of us gathered together to share in the joy (and the delicious feasting).

I also went to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted two weekends ago, here on The Mountain. (Technically, it was in the next valley over, but whatever.) That one was a potluck; I contributed pumpkin muffins, a funfetti birthday cake (because while *Sunday* was all about Thanksgiving, *Saturday* was a joint birthday party for two friends), and mulled cider.

Both feasts featured honest-to-goodness TURKEY, plus mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, apple pie & pumpkin pie... That's just what I got to have twice. Deliciousness I only got once included from-scratch applesauce, stuffed mushrooms, pumpkin scones, chocolate chip pumpkin bread...and I know there's more that I'm forgetting.

At both, I got to share the day (and the feasting) with loved ones. Though my biological family live thousands of miles away, I spent Thanksgiving(s) with my Peace Corps family - the dozens of brothers and sisters (and crazy cousins) I get to share my service with.

I am truly grateful.

PS: Today, on Thanksgiving Day itself, I broke in my new pressure cooker with some phenomenal mashed potatoes. 'Cause it's not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. :)

* Yes, I know, Canadians have one too, but they're Americans - North Americans - too, so it counts. Besides, any holiday inspired by Pilgrims, designated by George Washington, and re-awakened by Abraham Lincoln is "quintessentially American" by any meaningful definition.

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps