Well another Thanksgiving has come and gone and it has left us feeling thankful for so many things.

Living in a foreign country far from family, friends and a familiar culture is a real humbling experience. This Thanksgiving we were especially thankful for some of the most basic and simple things.

Our family here in Korea: I can’t even begin to thank my family here in Korea. My aunts and uncles have made sure that we are comfortable and that we have what we need. I always get calls from my aunts to check up on us. Whenever we visit my grandfather’s house we are sent home with so much food. They have taken us out to eat, to enjoy different cultural sites, and to just be with family.

Our family back home: We definitely miss all of our family back at home (and our friends too). We are so thankful for all of the telephone calls, letters, and packages. We know that we are missed and loved very much.

Kind people all over the world: We are very thankful of the kind people we have met here in Korea. They have made adjusting to life here in Seoul much easier. We really hope that we can be good friends to them as well.

Our health: After our many bouts of the common cold, sore throats, and bladder infections these past few weeks, we are definitely grateful for our overall health. We are strong and healthy and we are able to enjoy our lives to the fullest.

The world’s diverse cultures: It has been so much fun to learn more about Korean culture. There are so many beautiful traditions. The Korean language is also a beautiful language and we have enjoyed studying it so far. We are excited to take part in even more cultural experiences during our stay here. We also appreciate the good ol’ USA. There are many things that we miss and have taken advantage of. I know this will sound pretty cheesy, but we are pretty proud to be Americans.

Of course, there are so many other things to be thankful for. These are just a sampling of what we have thought about.

I am sure many of you have wondered how our Thanksgiving went this year. We had a really memorable one. Korea doesn’t celebrate our Thanksgiving so it was up to us to make it a special day. We decided that it would be a lot more fun to celebrate the holiday with some friends. We invited a girl from Daniel’s Korean class at Seoul National University and her husband over for a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner. Megumi is from Japan and her husband, Joo Young, is Korean. They met in Canada while they were there studying English and they were excited to share a Western meal with us. Since there aren’t any Butterball turkeys here and since I don’t have an oven this was our menu for Thanksgiving:

  • Lemon pepper pan-seared salmon
  • Home made mashed potatoes
  • Sautéed asparagus with onions and garlic
  • Fresh fruit salad with sweetened crème fraiche
  • Rolls
  • and of course, pumpkin pie.

We live near a Costco so I was able to get a great salmon fillet, tender asparagus, lots of fruit, rolls, pumpkin pie, heavy whipping cream and liquid plain yogurt. The latter two were for my home made crème fraiche. I originally wanted to test out this great recipe of pan-seared salt and pepper salmon with dill smashed potatoes (with peas and pearl onions) and a dill crème fraiche sauce. However, I couldn’t find any pearl onions, watercress, and the main ingredient, dill weed. So I gave up on that and decided to just do my own thing.

I always get a bit nervous when I prepare dinner for other people, but it turned out great. I need to give credit to Daniel who made some excellent mashed potatoes. Our secret ingredient: The crème fraiche I made the night before. I found that I could use plain yogurt instead of buttermilk to make the crème fraiche and I was very pleased with the outcome. It gave the potatoes a very good creamy flavor and texture. I also added some sugar to the crème fraiche to make my little sauce to go over the fruit. It really brought the flavor of the fruit out. Anyway, Daniel combined the perfect combination of creme fraiche, butter, milk and salt and pepper to make the most heavenly mashed potatoes we have ever had. Seriously. It was so fun to share a meal with Megumi and Joo Young. They were so kind to bring us some gifts. They got us a beautiful Monet 2008 calendar and Megumi gave me a really pretty cloth to drape over my table from Japan. She also made a beautiful little apple pie. The funnest thing was how excited they both got over the mashed potatoes. The last time either of them had mashed potatoes was when they were in Canada. They must of thought they were good cause they had 2-3 helpings of the potatoes and everything else! It was also fun to see them try pumpkin pie for the first time. I think it was a big hit. Good company and good food…what more could you ask for on Thanksgiving! I was also pretty proud of us. Minus the mashed potatoes and the pie, we had a pretty light and healthy Thanksgiving. None of that stuff yourself silly and then sleep thing.

Since we can’t get our Thanksgiving pictures to download on our computer (taken by Megumi), here is a comic that I thought was pretty funny.