For the last eight years, I have celebrated Thanksgiving abroad. Some years this meant preparing a full dinner for friends who were just learning about the holiday and other years it entailed a last-minute search for a restaurant that served apple pie. Not only did this Thanksgiving bring traditional food, family, and a four-day weekend, but Marcus' longtime friend Florian flew in on Wednesday and we spent the long weekend showing him the best of Oregon.
Thursday took us to my parents' house in the heart of the Willamette Valley. The sun was shining, the food was abundant, and we gathered around the table with 25 friends and family members. Early the next morning, we headed to Mt. Hood for a hike around Trillium Lake. Just a few miles past the ski resorts, Trillium Lake offers a fantastic view of the mountain. The lake was frozen enough to walk along the edge, but other than a few patches of ice here and there, the ground was clear. The walk around the lake was easy and parts of the trail even had a wooden walkway. A level of difficult well suited to the day after Thanksgiving.
After Trillium Lake, we headed to Timberline Lodge for lunch. The restaurant was busy and the food was less wonderful than usual, but the atmosphere more than made up for it. We gave Florian a quick history of how the lodge came to be built during the Great Depression, then we headed up the mountain for a walk in the snow. The next days took us to the beach and then the sights in Portland.
The weekend was the perfect occasion to be thankful for this beautiful state and our easy access to its natural wonder. After a long period of settling, it's starting to feel like home again. But even more than that, I am thankful for the friendship of these two. They met in Berlin and both moved to Amsterdam around the same time. Music was the initial bond that brought them together and the reason that my flatmate invited Florian to bring his band to one of our house parties in 2007. Their friendship created another relationship, and for that, my heart is thankful.