Community: Expats got a taste of Thanksgiving during the AWCL’s annual turkey day fest.
Photo: LaLa La Photo
“As Europeans we should take more time to be thankful!” Tony De Luca is at the Thanksgiving dinner put on by the American Women’s Club of Luxembourg. He’s accompanying Joann De Luca, a new AWCL member. “It’s such a nice time of year and with the group especially, it feels very sociable,” she said.
This year the AWCL have invited their members and family to gather at the Youth Hostel in Pfaffenthal to celebrate Thanksgiving. This popular event was sold out within days and was attended by 68 adults and 28 children.
A separate room had been arranged for staff to entertain the kids while the adults enjoyed their dinner in the next room. With a huge colouring table, a card-making station and huge building blocks, the children were certainly entertained.
Unconventional but familiar
The event was not just popular with new members of the AWCL. Andrea Monnat, who is originally from Germany, attended with her American husband, James. They have been living in Luxembourg for nearly a decade now, but “there are not many opportunities for our kids to learn about their American culture and heritage, but events like this and also the AWCL Halloween event really help us to educate our children. We want them to know more about their own culture, beyond what they see on American TV!”
At first glance, the dinner was unconventional in many ways. The food was served in the canteen of the youth hostel and members sat in rows rather than around a big table with food in the middle.
AWCL member Anne Defilippis dived into her plate of turkey and stuffing as she explained: “Thanksgiving is usually about big families sitting round a table together. But in other ways this is very traditional. The kids are running around enjoying themselves, the adults are eating when they can; rather than formally starting and ending the meal simultaneously.”
If the purpose of the dinner was to remind these expats that they are not alone during this festive season, it certainly worked. New member Amanda Mackay, joined the club last month, said: “It’s really nice to go out for Thanksgiving, this group has been so helpful, especially the AWCL online community. Even before I arrived, I had signed up and I felt that there were people here that I could really ask the advice of.”
The unconventional yet conventional dinner was finished off with generous servings of traditional pumpkin pie and apple pie. The crémant flowed all night as people went up for second third servings of turkey and gravy.
AWCL member Sharlene Helfgott, who organises many of the other events, reflected on the evening by saying: “We know it’s not a typical Thanksgiving. People are away from their families, but at least we can be here celebrating together as a community. Although this is an American custom, we’re a room full of different nationalities and that’s what AWCL is about. Sometimes I think we should be called the International Women’s Club of Luxembourg because of how multicultural we are. That’s something I’m really thankful for.”