Anyway. Rant over.
This year, we fully embraced Thanksgiving and Black Friday completely by accident. Really. It was the most American-ish two days of fun and (with the exception of the actual meal), none of it was intentional.
Because it's not a holiday here, I worked from home for the morning and requested the afternoon off to enjoy some turkey with my fellow amreekahns. I enjoyed the extra hour of sleep, made my coffee, had my God-time, and opened my computer to start working. What I didn't anticipate was the Facebook posting from someone in Africa talking about how they were maintaining tradition by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (a year late). I thought, "hmm…I wonder if I can find it online." Well the youtube search was short and within moments I was watching the parade…right on time…a year later…and in a different time zone. Ok…so it was kind of "right on time." And the most amazing part was that internet was working so well that we never had to wait for it to buffer!
I had been invited to a friend's place for the big meal. Appetizers were starting at 1:00 and the main meal would start around 4:00. I figured I'd head over around 1:00 and enjoy hanging out, playing games, and starting to get my stomach primed for the ridiculous amounts I was about to stuff into it.
It was a great evening! We played games, laughed, ate, and reminisced about how we have previously celebrated Thanksgiving. How can you not have a good time with a 20+ kilo turkey (that's more than 40 lbs) and around 50 people?
I got to end my day chatting with my parents, sisters, and an aunt and uncle. While it's always sad to be away from Mom's good Thanksgiving cooking and the quality family time, I am blessed to get to go home in just a couple days and enjoy family time (and leftovers).
Anyway…since Black Friday isn't a thing here, it is usually the last thing we think of the day after Thanksgiving. This year was different, though.
IKEA has been "opening" ever since I moved here. There's been a blue building and banner hanging since I landed more than two years ago. When you'd ask people when it was opening, they'd smile (or laugh), shake their head and say, "probably never." It had been slated to open in January 2011, but when the revolution hit, all forward progress halted. We kept being told it would open "soon," but "soon" here could be in 10 years. (Which, I suppose, when you look at how old the country is, that is "soon".)
You would have thought you had let a bunch of middle-school girls out at a party with their favorite boy band. I am fairly certain we both squealed multiple times throughout the morning. For just a little bit, we forgot we were in this country. We got excited about salad spinners and paper napkins. We talked about how we would design our kitchens. We imagined how much easier it would have been to move here had it been open at the planned time almost three years ago.
Funny (slightly gross) story. We decided to take advantage of a good meal (for cheap) and eat at the restaurant. (How can you pass up swedish meatballs? I mean, really!) Although we were disappointed not to find the lingonberry sauce and pop, the meal was delicious!
If you don't know, at IKEA, when you're done eating, you're supposed to bus your own tray to a designated area. Well, while we were eating, we watched a security guard walk over to the dirty dish rack, take a (used) glass from a tray, and fill it with pop for a little boy. He drank it happily, the security guard put the (doubly) dirty glass back on the tray in the dirty dish rack, and walked away. We all sat with jaws to the floor and laughed.
It may not have been a Black Friday like back home, but we certainly saw the full spectrum of shopping - brand new and Western to historic and local. It was probably the best Black Friday I've ever had!