And so another winter begins - my seventeenth and first without any sign of snow! I underestimated my attachment to arctic temperatures. The lawns here are still vibrant green, although the trees are mostly bare and it's dusky and chilly when I bring my bike out of the old green shed in the morning. Still, on the 20 minute ride all I need on the coldest of mornings is a pair of mittens and maybe a scarf (and not a heavy one) to keep warm. It's a bit strange and every time I walk out the door I brace myself for the biting cold... but then I realize that I live in Holland now, not Alaska, and it's 35 degrees (2 degrees C) at the least. To ease my withdrawl I made a bunch of paper snowflakes one afternoon and pinned them all over the living room. I spent that same weekend making pumpkin pie and collecting holiday music. It's sort of like nesting, but christmas-themed and without the baby names.
Thanksgiving was better than I could have hoped! Thursday evening I caught a series of trains to Gronau, Germany with a warm apple pie tagging along. My fellow American Lauren and I made Thanksgiving dinner for us and her host family at their home in Gronau - a Dutch family living 20 kilometers or so over the German border. They managed to find a turkey (not as common here) and we had zoete aardapplen (sweet potatoes) aardapplen puree (mashed potatoes) sperzeabonen (green beans) en pompoen (pumpkin). It was very cozy and fun, even without the snow :)
I was lucky enough to have yet another Thanksgiving on Saturday night, this time with my own host family. Paula and I courageously tackled our roasted chickens (free-range, natuurlijk) and a plethora of other dishes. Paula's sister, brother-in-law, and niece Imke showed up with pecan pie for dessert, which was so good that Paula sneakily slipped the (meager) remains into the fridge before handing back the pan. Goodie for us!

I do have some nice pictures which I haven't uploaded to my laptop yet. I'll post them once I get around to doing that! Happy holidays.

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