Artem Esayan has tried turkey just once in his native Russia.
The Marshalltown Community College exchange student was able to double that number Wednesday night as he attended a Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Matt and Paula Pisney in Marshalltown.
This is the third year that the Pisneys have hosted MCC international exchange students and international community members for a Thanksgiving feast.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Paula Pisney, second from right, goes over some recipes in preparation for a Thanksgiving meal for international Marshalltown Community College students Wednesday night at her Marshalltown home. Also pictured, from left, is her husband, Matt Pisney, student Hye-in Park from South Korea, and student Artem Esayan, from Russia. The Pisneys have hosted a Thanksgiving meal for international students for three years.
"It's a great place to hang out with other international students and experience an American Thanksgiving," Esayan said.
The Pisneys expected a group of 35 to attend the dinner, representing countries from all over the world including South Korea, Russia, The Netherlands, Venezuela, China, Ghana, India, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Prior to the dinner, Paula, who is expecting a baby next month, was busy helping the students with the side dishes.
"We really want to make the internationals in Marshalltown feel welcome," she said.
On the menu included two turkeys, two hams and plenty of the traditional side dishes such as mashed potatoes and stuffing.
"It's fun to show them a traditional Thanksgiving in the United States," Matt Pisney said. "We get to teach them about our culture and we get to learn about their culture."
During the meal, every guest in attendance and the hosts said what they were thankful for this year.
MCC student Hye-in Park, from South Korea, returned to the Pisney home for the second year for Thanksgiving.
"It's kind of cool," she said.
The Pisneys also host a dinner and game night at their home for international students and international community members once every two weeks. They keep a map in the basement of their home with push pins and photos indicating the countries that have been represented through the meals - they are up to approximately 20 countries.
The couple feels their welcoming spirit comes from their faith.
"We're trying to share God's love," Matt Pisney said.