Sunday, November 29, 2009

Five Thanksgivings

Who knew that I would end up celebrating Thanksgiving FIVE TIMES here in Honduras!!! I guess when you can't be with your family, you have to make up for quality with quantity, but I will say that many of these celebrations were pretty high quality, too!!
#1 -- Thanksgiving at the Teacher Houses

We had a lovely potluck Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 21st at the teachers' houses... At the last minute we realized that no one had signed up to bring turkey, so someone ordered out for roast chicken :) Elisa's stuffing was pretty amazing, and Matt made some great mashed potatoes. I, of course, baked the pumpkin pies with a little help from Elena :) I even had a brandied pie filling recipe... mmmmm :) We enjoyed quite a bit of wine and ended up going dancing afterwards (not a usual Thanksgiving tradition, but hey...)

#2 -- Thanksgiving at the Military Base

On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to be able to experience the Thanksgiving dinner at one of the dining halls on the nearby military base (technically, the Americans rent the space from the Hondurans, and it is dually patrolled). Not everyone gets to go on base, and we got special permission because one of the ninth-graders' moms worked on base and requested for a bus of us to come. It was also odd to pay the dining hall cashiers only in dollars for our meal--Lempiras not accepted. The dining hall was all decked-out (see place-setting picture) and I got to teach some of the students words like "cornucopia." The food was actually pretty good (except the stuffing was like glue--Elisa's still wins. I had to explain to people that that wasn't the way it was supposed to be) It was really nice to see all the effort that the staff on base went through to make the soldiers feel like they were home again. We all felt really very welcomed and I, as an American, really appreciated all their hospitality. I met a very friendly woman from Wyoming who was stationed there and she pretty much couldn't believe that a) I was over 18 and b) that I just up and came to Honduras to teach. It was a little awkward, however, when she warned me very seriously, in front of all my Honduran, English-speaking students, to be safe and really watch out for myself. Um, watch out for all the sketchy Hondurans? That I'm sharing Thanksgiving with?? Oh, well.... Overall, we had a great time, and the parents that came really enjoyed themselves as well!
#3 -- Thanksgiving at School
Technically there were two smaller Thanksgiving celebrations at school... apparently, bilingual schools are the only "cultural" entities in Honduras to celebrate Thanksgiving, and they gave us only Friday off mostly due to the presence of the American teachers. For lunch on Thursday, the support staff decorated the library for us with fall-colored table cloths and gave us a meal of roast chicken, pasta salad and rice (not very Thankgsiving-y, but the decorations made up for it). They also made us little hats with colored feathers in them... awkward moment number two... isn't it a little offensive to still dress up like stereotypical "Indians" on Thanksgiving? But the entire school staff was so proud of themselves and all the work they had done that I didn't want to say anything. I didn't end up wearing my hat, and told other people to turn in backwards so it looked more like a turkey tail than an "Indian" headdress.

We also had a small "celebration" during the last period of the day on Thursday, which for me was 11th grade biology. I baked pumpkin cupcakes decorated with candy corn brought especially for me from the States (Thanks, Sheila!!! I owe a blog about your visit! YOU WIN!) and handed them out to my students only after they got up and said something they were thankful for. A lot of them thanked me for being an awesome teacher (AWWWW!!!) I got a little self-conscious and was like, "um, guys, don't feel obligated to say that," but they were like, "no, we really mean it!!!" So when I got up to say my piece, it went something like "I am so thankful for all of you guys, and I'm thankful for the interesting turn my life has taken in bringing me here... and ... oh my gosh I'm gonna cry..." and then I did a little :P Most people didn't notice (I hope) because they were eating their cupcakes and talking. But I really do love these students and I'm happy we got to share that time together.

#4 -- Thanksgiving out on the Town

Since I had already celebrated with 9th grade at the base and 11th grade in class, it was serendipitous that 10th grade chose to have their own Thanksgiving dinner out on the town at one of the nicest restaurants in town (full, amazing meal still about $5-6.50), La Casita. It was more a time for them to all relax together outside of school (and unfortunately not everyone came) than it was a traditional Thanksgiving celebration, but we did say a quick grace. I was happy that they invited Besi (their "homeroom teacher" while Mircia is out on maternity leave) and me (the 10th grade "assistant"). Besi also brought her 10-year-old son, Samuel (can you find him hidden among the 10th graders??) I had a good laugh because they spent most of the meal taking pictures of each other and looking at them on their cameras rather than actually having conversations or eating, but hey, they're 16...
#5 -- Thanksgiving up on the Volcan

It was a wonderful surprise to be invited up to the farm where Karen, a teacher at the school, and her husband, Ed, live. I've heard that Karen's place is beautiful but it was certainly an amazing experience to find out for myself. This was definitely the most traditional Thansgiving celebration of the bunch, complete with a day of relaxing and watching movies, and taking "digestive walks" around the grounds. Karen lives up on the "volcan" and grows coffee, pineapple, bananas, among other things, and has quite a menagerie of animals! You can see the aviary in this picture where she has 3 parrots who are delightfully noisy :P I also enjoyed playing with her cat, her 4 dogs, and one amazing KINKAJU!!!! It's kind of like a lemur... with a big long tongue and hands that feel like human hands. She was so sweet. It was such a wonderfully restful day, and one that I really needed (sometimes you feel all cooped up in the city, and it was nice to feel some "wide open spaces" to quote the Dixie Chicks).

I am so thankful for all the blessings I have recieved and all the wonderful experiences I have had here so far in Honduras. I hope Thanksgiving was fabulous for my mom and dad, all my friends and their families this year. :)

1 comment:

  1. How lovely! But I still can't believe you had FIVE Thanksgivings!!!