Last night, for the first time ever, I celebrated Thanksgiving away from my house and my family. Instead, all of the ProPeru volunteers and staff got together to bring the best of our home to Peru and celebrate how much we have to be thankful for by getting to live here. It was strange not watching the Macy's Day Parade, or cooking pies and turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and every other wonderful dish with my mom and dad and grandma in our kitchen (finally with double ovens so we don't have to fight over who uses it first), curling up with our new Black Lab puppy by a fire, watching a cold and grey Portland fall day pass by outside, prepparing my list of Christmas-gifts-to-buy for Black Friday. I missed all the all-day-long lovely kitchen aromas, gathering leaves and flowers to decorate the table, the lazy and yet busy feeling of the day, the peaceo f being with my family.
But we certainly made this a Thanksgiving to remember and give thanks about. There was every kind of Thanksgiving food imaginable that could be made with Peruvian ingredients (potatoes and camote were the stars, featuring in almost every dish). Everything from traditionals like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and stuffing to broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole with pecans on top, and choclo. We all loaded our platters into the ProPeru office, joined together several tables, and sat down for a happy, loud, thankful feast. Even though I still greatly missed being at home, I couldn't have asked for a better Peruvian version of the holiday.
I am so thankful that I have been lucky enough to meet these amazing people and spend my time with them in Peru. My experience in Peru would have been completely different if I didn't have the spectacular ProPeru volunteers and staff that I've both worked and played with, as well as the amazing Peruvian and German friends I have made. These are people I want to continue to remain friends with, and I am so lucky that they have become an influence in my life. Thank you everyone for an amazing Peruvian Thanksgiving!