Monday, December 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and Christmas

As the year comes to an end, I am enjoying a 12 day break from school. I have been very busy as the new assistant debate coach, doing my best to learn the particularities of USA debate format and be helpful to the team. We go to tournaments around the state which eat in to my weekends considerably, hence the lack of activity on the blog. The last trip we made was to Missoula in temperatures of 30 below zero. We were snowed in and unable to travel home on the Saturday evening, but eventually made it home on Sunday afternoon.

I am surprised and impressed at how well I am coping with the cold. Locals say that they have not had these cold temperatures and amounts of snow for ten years. I have new tyres and an engine block heater for my car now, so I am well equipped. Some mornings I have been driving to work in the dark, all rugged up, creeping along the slick, icy streets. With my thick gloves on it is very difficult to actually pinch myself and realise that I am living in North America, a world away from my red Australian desert. On the weekend people were getting bogged on the neighbourhood streets in the soft snow. It is like 4 wheel driving on a beach.

Casey heading out to shovel the front steps and driveway

At the end of November we celebrated Thanksgiving, my favourite American holiday, especially as I met Kelly on Thanksgiving at Dee and Tony’s house seven years ago. We had three days off for that too. I was allocated the green bean casserole to make, and had to laugh at the traditional Americana recipe starting with a can of soup and finishing with something called French fried onions. These are found in a tin and made from fat and salt. I have to admit, they taste alarmingly good. I also made a good ole fashioned cherry pie. I was pretty proud of that and have decided to pursue a career in pie.

Mick and his turkey

Kelly exercising the carver's privilege

Sister Tera, niece Kristen and the amazing spread of food.

We celebrated Christmas the week before as Sinead was home from Missoula. It was low fuss and lovely, with a slap-up mid week feast and presents. We have had a tree up since the first of December because I was so excited to have a real tree for the first time since my childhood in Perth. There were pine trees on sale in car parks all over the place. On the actual day of Christmas, all we had to do was turn up at Mike and Terry’s for dinner, which was a great meal and a great gathering.

Kelly and his kids at Christmas.

On the weekend we made the most of the snow and warmer temperatures (it is now up to 0 degrees!) and headed out to Blue Creek for some sledding. Mick brought the four wheelers and his snow plough to make sure we would be able to get back up the hill. The shed served as a respite from the cold where we could enjoy hot chocolate, coffee and snacks. Blue Creek was so beautiful in spring and summer, but I had not thought about how much fun it could be in winter. Well, it was.