Thanksgiving morning rolls around. The 7 of us female college students have decided that we will not lose our very American holiday and plan to slave to make a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. All the food was stored at our office, a small house in the neighborhood we all live in. Heading into the kitchen to grab the potatoes I hear crying.
*meww. meww. meewww*
What on earth. The crying continues. I look down and see a small gray kitten, asking for a little milk. We oblige. Which in this country means, we are choosing to adopt the kitten. Once it finds a house that feeds it, it will never leave.
I go back to my house and begin preparation. Turkey is in the oven. Mashed potatoes are being hand mashed. The stuffing is slowly coming together. My host mom curiously watches the little things I do. Asking why I soak bread with garlic onion broth and put it in the oven. How I know the turkey is ready (how should I know, I´m a vegetarian without a meat thermometer). Why I need two sticks of butter in the mashed potatoes. Why there is apple in the crushed bread mixture. Can she have some apple? Why is there so much food? Wait, the other girls are making food too? Can I sneak her a plate of food when we are done?
All of the questions and sharing of cultural tradition while she pops fresh mandarin oranges in my mouth as I mix the gooey stuffing mixture with my hands. The football game on in the background, adding noise, the Spanish announcers taking away a bit of the traditional feel of American football as the soundtrack to Thanksgiving cooking. Looking at my cultural traditions through the eyes of someone with a very different cultural background proved interesting.
We bring the food from my kitchen to the office, where we have set up a serving table filled with everything traditional: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, cauliflower au gratin, brussel sprouts, gravy, and apple pie. As I carve the turkey, everyone stands in awe. While gazing at this amazing table of food, we see a small figure fly off our friend’s body onto the table. It´s the freaking kitten.
And this is how Thanksgiving continues. Our mood music, the candles, the food, the laughter, and this dang cat climbing up our bodies and appearing at the table. I mean, this thing is half-kitten, half-spider monkey. We eventually locked the poor kitten in the bathroom with some pieces of turkey because it just wasn´t sanitary anymore to let this kitten that just arrived this morning from the street to keep walking along our plates of food as we ate. It just was not sanitary.
Our guests arrive for the birthday party portion of the night where we serve pie, sing feliz cumpleaños, smack the pumpkin piñata, dance to our mix of gringa and latin music. The kitten, quiet and happy knowing all of these people have come to spend time with him. We clean up, kitten sleeping quietly on top of the stack of newspapers in the corner, tired from all of the turkey he ate.
So now Thanksgiving is over, but the leftovers are not. The kitten remains. We continue to ask the question, what are we going to do with this cat?! We are all in the midst of writing our enormous research papers, which requires a lot of focus and time. Sitting at the table when suddenly the cat starts climbing up your leg. And this little guy cries, cries the second he is without attention. For being a Nicaraguan cat, a creature that normally would not receive a bit of attention, he expects a lot from us American college students. Love. Attention. Playtime. Leftovers.
Our papers are being written more by him than by us, because to take the attention away from our work and onto him, he walks across our keyboards, typing whatever he feels like saying. Then batting at your screen to try and grab at the moving curser. Now he´s cuddled in my lap, arms around my arm as I type.
Who even is this creature, our Thanksgiving surprise? What do we do with him? Help?