Well, it’s not New York, that’s for sure. Yup…that’s for sure.
But that’s ok! The holidays are all about being close to the people we love, and acknowledging the things we are thankful for – and the truth is, we can do that anywhere, if we’re lucky. And we are lucky – we are together here in Saudi Arabia. Do we wish to be close to our family in the States – well, of course we do.
So we had a nice Thanksgiving. One of our concerns was where we were going to get a Turkey in Jeddah. Luckily, the commissary had turkeys, and we ordered a nice 20+ pound Butterball turkey which was great. The turkey came out great. Here we are at our dinner table – by this time Jonathan was sleeping.
This is actually not the first Thanksgiving we’ve had overseas. Here are few quick blasts from the past of our first Thanksgiving together in 2011. We were in Bogota, Colombia, and we were still dating (a few months later, on January 1, 2012 we got engaged).
One of the things we like most about Thanksgiving is the tradition, and a favorite tradition of ours is A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Now if it’s not Daniel Tiger, or Curious George, or “princess,” then usually Jacqueline will have nothing of it. However, we convinced her to give it a shot, and she liked it. The whole vibe of the show, including the amazing jazz soundtracks by the Vince Guaraldi trio, make the Charlie Brown holiday series so excellent.
A few weeks ago, we took a nice drive up to one of the private, expat-only beaches – it is called “La Plage.” It is interesting that Saudis are not permitted on this beach. As you come to the entrance, they ask your nationality and check your identification to make sure you are not a Saudi. We guess that is because the beaches do not want to risk offending the Saudi sensibilities – for example, at this beach women are permitted to wear bikinis. This would be unheard of in Jeddah (or anywhere else in Saudi Arabia) at a public beach. The weather was beautiful, and it is nice to see people having fun and escape the sometimes oppressive rules and regulations that make living here a bit of a challenge sometimes. We also did a nice barbecue in our backyard – the weather has gotten very nice lately. It seems like it may be less than 100 degrees :)!
Well, it is nice to at least be close to Israel for Chanukah! We had our trusty Menorah, which was passed down to us from Harry LeVine, and we put it to good use. This year, we really lived out the tradition of the miracle of lights – we were short on candles, and we had to keep cutting the candles to make them last because there is absolutely nowhere to get Chanukah candles here. So sometimes the candles were kind of short, but nonetheless, we said the prayers, we kept the tradition going, and we had a great Chanukah. We gave Jacqueline some nice gifts including a paintable ceramic train, some clothing, and some toys.
So we get to do Christmas as well. Our housing compound, Al Basateen, had a really awesome Christmas party. Jacqueline had a great time, and so did we! While it will not likely be a white Christmas here in the Middle East, Al Basateen did put together a nice little event that somewhat captured the spirit of the holidays. Let us say it again, though – this is definitely not New York. Here are some pictures of the event.