Thanksgiving is always the hardest holiday to be away from home, and since this was my third year away from family and friends on Turkey Day, it was gearing up to be a lousy week. Things were made better by the fact that Monday was a holiday in Argentina, and the weather has been beautiful lately, which always makes things better. But even knowing that it’s a bummer to be away from home on the holiday, I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had a chance to get to sad or homesick. I don’t have too many American friends and only recently met my buddy Brian, so I figured I’d spend Thanksgiving alone, but Brian knows a whole crew of English teachers and invited me to someone’s apartment for a feast on Thursday night. I couldn’t be happier.
My Thanksgiving in Ecuador got me a great meal hosted by my friend Lauren, and with new Ecuadorian friends we made a micro-family for the evening. Last year I was invited to my first “Thanksgiving a la porteña” hosted by a local, with no turkey but milanesas instead. At that point I was feeling homesick and it was a great treat. This year was a bit different, with more of a party than a sit down dinner, and it involved people from all over the world. Not only the U.S was represented, but Argentina, Germany, Colombia, etc. Basically, those who were away from their families met up, and others who were friends joined in to share in the strange and foreign holiday.
Our host went above and beyond, preparing two turkeys (I have no idea where she got them), pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, salads, pies, and a mountain of little pastries and desserts. Since everyone brought something to drink, the house was shortly turned into a bar. We went around the room saying something we were thankful for and then it was every man for himself at the table. I spent the night mingling and talking to some new people, and it made me wonder about the advantages of teaching English. One of the biggest reasons I could see is that you get to meet so many other people like you who are also looking for company and support.
Next year I’ll be back in the U.S. to enjoy a Thanksgiving Americana. I can’t wait to celebrate with the family again.