This is my third straight Thanksgiving in Moscow, where, trust me, the holiday has as much local traction as Cinco de Mayo. (Less, in fact, because at least with Cinco de Mayo there’s the attraction of tequila, an exotic change of pace from vodka. I keep reminding my Russian friends that, “You know you’ve had too much tequila when you go to brush something off your shoulder and it’s the floor.” But I digress…) So today is a typical workday for me. I’ll be vetting story ideas, editing scripts, sipping bad coffee and dreaming of the sun. Tonight, though, some of us expats are gathering at the Starlight Diner, which is as close to America as you’re likely to get in Moscow, unless you find yourself in the American Medical Clinic. (Where, trust me, you don’t want to find yourself. Last year I went in there to get a wound aspirated and walked out with a staph infection that kept me busy for many months. Yech. But, again, I digress.) Here’s a picture of the Starlight. Always wanted to enjoy my Thanksgiving repast in a red vinyl booth.
I’m not complaining, really I’m not. This is all just for comic effect. Actually, I think it’s pretty great, in a weird, perverse sort of way, that I’ve been in Moscow for three straight Thanksgivings. At least it suggests that I know how to do a job well enough to be invited back, and that’s not nothing. Also, I expect that tonight’s dinner will be shot through with the sort of siege mentality that ex-pats share. That can be fun. We’re none of us with our families, but at least we’re all in this together. It’s no substitute for being with family back home, and it’s surely no substitute for Slacksgiving, the annual ultimate frisbee extravaganza/can drive that I founded and host and have missed for the past three years. And oh, by the way, I have no real hope of having turkey. I’ve been down that road before. Here’s a table-shot of last year’s Thanksgiving repast, put together by Maxx and me from available parts.
Not exactly the traditional approach. That’s a chicken instead of a turkey, a tart filling in for a pie, and some of the sketchiest mashed potatoes the world has ever seen.
Maybe tonight I’ll go for pizza. I understand that the pizza at the Starlight kicks ass.
Anyway, enjoy your Thanksgiving, whoever you are and wherever you are. And if you happen to be reading this blog in a place where Thanksgiving is not celebrated, go on down to the local ex-pat watering hole and watch the Americans dream of candied yams and football. Buy them some tequila. It’s not part of the Thanksgiving tradition, but they probably won’t say no.
More later, -jv