Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The holidays have a very different feel in Botswana. Mainly because they don't seem like they are happening at all. This reality has been met with mixed emotions for me (and many of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers) in that I am relieved since I don't actually feel as though I am missing the holidays at all and also sad because they are among my favorite times.

What is unique about the holiday experience here, however, is that we are able to share our traditions with host country nationals and celebrate in our own unique ways. For Thanksgiving, Peace Corps Volunteers around Botswana are having celebrations ranging from big elaborate potluck dinners to cleaning out the fridge and cooking whatever random assortment of foods happen to be there to putting on plays and hosting Batswana to teach them about American Thanksgiving. My holiday this year falls somewhere in the middle of all these options - I am having a low-key day of eating and drinking with two of my best friends here and all week I have been sharing about the holiday and why it is special (both historically and to me) with my counterpart and others from my village.

In my opinion, the most important part of Thanksgiving is the tradition of "giving thanks". In my home, we would go around the table and everyone would say something they were thankful for. I have reflected a lot lately on what I am thankful for. Among those things include: my health, new opportunities, media, perpetual optimism, smiles from the village kids, letters and packages from home, having internet access, booming thunder and three-dimensional skies, martinis, emails from friends, the dogs on my compound, coffee, learning to cook from scratch, and creating new friendships. These things have made this year so wonderful. This year, however, I am especially grateful for my family and friends. You have supported me, encouraged me, and loved me even from a half a world away. Your faith in me has helped me to see it myself and has given me the strength to keep going. Although I wish I could be with you this holiday season, I am content in knowing that we are there for one another and we are just a phone call or an email away. I love you so much!


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