Saturday, November 26, 2011

Día de Acción de Gracias

Yep, that's what they call Thanksgiving Day here.  Except it's not a holiday.  Many of our friends are aware of its existence, but they know nothing of the significance or traditions associated with it.  We have enjoyed the opportunity to share about some of our culture with them! 

For me, this has really been the first holiday "away from home" that has had an impact on me.  At Easter, we were still too new in the country and preoccupied with other things (esp. the weekend retreat we were at) to notice.  The 4th of July, while historically important, has never been a huge day for me, other than the opportunity to blow stuff up (and we can do that anytime, here).

But Thanksgiving???  For me it has always been one of the biggest days of the year.  The food.  The family time.  The historical and spiritual significance of the day.  A 4-day weekend.  Not only is it a holiday in its own right, but for me it has always been the beginning of the Christmas season.

And yet, I was surrounded by people that were going about their business as usual, oblivious to anything other than daily life.  For whatever reason, this first impacted me when I realized that I could call up our favorite taxi driver without messing up a special day with his family.

What a blessing it is to have family here! :)  We spent the whole afternoon and evening with my brother's family and another couple, friends of theirs.  Thanks to the internet, we have been able to be in contact with our family in the US and other parts of the world as well.

Of course, we are able to maintain some of our traditions as well.  A couple years ago, we started to do a Thankful Tree in November.  Each night after supper, we each say something we are thankful for and write it down on a cut-out of our hand.  The hands then become the "leaves" of the "tree."  This year, we did it in Spanish:

One of our favorite T-day treats is Cherry Coke Jello: cherry jello with cherry pie filling and a can of Coca Cola.  Kaylee went to the US-style supermarkets to see if she could find cherry pie filling, but a can of pie cherries in juice was the closest she found.  So she pitted cherries, thickened them up, and made her jello anyhow.  And it was fantastic.

The girls enjoyed helping her make her famous dinner rolls too:

While turkeys are available here, they are not common, and very expensive.  So we had chicken.  And stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, pickles, cider, and three kinds of pie, including "pumpkin" made from zapallo, a large squash that is the closest we get here.

And of course, on Friday we decorated the house for Christmas.  As usual, you can see those pictures and the rest of our Random Adventures in November here:
Picasa Web Albums: Sirviendo a Cristo

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