Thanksgiving found us, even in Tunisia.
Conspicuously absent were the Pilgrims and Indians… I think they got lost on their way back across the Atlantic and through the Mediterranean. Poor fellows are probably floating out there somewhere off of Corsica peering at the invitation we sent them thinking, “Wait, this doesn’t look right… they said to watch for pirate ships in the bay….” Alas, we had to celebrate without them.
We did manage to find one other American family to invite to dinner, lovely folks from Omaha who have worked in the Ivory Coast (on the other side of Africa, on the bottom side of the bulge on your map) for eighteen years. They have a ten year old son, Josh, who fit right in with our boys and fun was had by all… if not pumpkin pie.
We did manage to find turkey… not a whole one but two skinless breasts and one enormous leg, which filled the house with that traditional “Thanksgiving” smell. No sweet potatoes… so we had twice baked white potatoes with onions and cheese instead. No green bean casserole (canned beans are almost $2 usd a can and there is no such thing as cream of mushroom soup or fried onions to top it with) so we had peas and carrots. The peas come “au naturel” so Ezra spent his morning freeing them from their little pods and rolling them all over the kitchen floor, I’ll be finding them for weeks; while I cut up the carrots. Our guests brought homemade stuffing, four rounds of flat bread and two cans of corn to add to the veggie mix as well as two lovely chocolate cake rolls to add to my caramel apple cake for desert. “I couldn’t find cranberries,” Sue said, “but I thought these might do instead…” and she brought out two enormous pomegranates, which Elisha was delighted to pick apart and add to the table. They certainly weren’t cranberries, but they were red, and sweet, which was good enough for the kids. In fact, we may just add pomegranates to the table in future years to remind us of our African Thanksgiving and our new friends.
Like the Americans we are, we ate until we were stuffed. Then we lay back, swapped travel stories and looked at one another’s web sites until the clock struck four. Our friends are living inland at Keriouan (the fourth holiest city for muslims) and they had at least an hour of travel by louage (shared taxis… mini vans actually, into which eight people are crammed) to get home. “It’s best not to take the louages at night,” Mike told us, “They are famous for driving too fast, passing illegally and not turning on their headlights… even in the dark.” Great. We’ll keep that in mind when we RENT A CAR instead!! 🙂
In fact, that’s what were going to try to do this morning. I stopped and talked to our policeman on the corner a couple of days ago and asked him about the details of Tunisian seatbelt law… which to the casual observer seem somewhat… flexible. He said it was no problem to cram all four kids into the back of a Clio and double buckle, “as long as they’re small enough.” This is wonderfully convenient for us, as Tony mislaid his driver’s license at a campground in Delft, Holland, some six months ago, so I’m the only driver in the family… and no mini-vans can be had. Well, there is ONE in Sousse… but it is over $200 usd PER DAY to rent. I guess if you have a big family here, you get a donkey cart… which seems to seat about twelve, from what we can tell.
What are we going to do with this car and our newfound freedom? Head south into the desert on a quest for troglodyte dwellings, oases and (if the kids have their prayers answered) camels. We’re throwing in the tent and lots of water, for good measure, and venturing out of our, now comfy, circle at Sousse. We have to scout out the good stuff before Grammy and Gramps arrive in two weeks.
Did I mention that Grammy and Gramps are coming?
It is Ezra’s fault, actually. He’s been inviting Gramps over for months, every time they talk on the phone. When we arrived here and made our first call home Ez said, “Okay Gramps, you can come over now, we have a nice place for you…” Gramps laughed, “Sure Ez, I’ll be right over, as soon as your Dad sends me those tickets…” Ez nodded solemnly, looked with one keen eye at his Dad and headed off to bed. Sure Gramps would be here by the weekend. In the morning he was a little teary to discover that Gramps had been kidding. “I need to call Gramps back,” he declared after breakfast. So we did. “Gramps,” he said. “It made me very sad that you were joking me and I cried and it was not funny. I want you to come see me.” By that point he was choking up again and couldn’t keep talking to Gramps. Now it was Gramps’ turn to feel bad. Ez kept calling and inviting him over, every week. So, when Grammy called this last week and said that tickets had been purchased and their arrival was imminent, Ezra, naturally, claimed responsibility. He is quite pleased to have “bargained Gramps down and made him come out of his house and over to Africa to see me.” He’s already got a nice stack of pictures painted to decorate their room with when they get here. T minus fourteen days.