Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dia de Gracias

What a great day.  Dia de Gracias will probably go down on my list of top 10 Thanksgiving celebrations ever.  Not since the Philippines have I been away from family on Thanksgiving, and never have I been so far away from so many foods that I didn't even know I missed.  Thanksgiving with the Ambassador in the American Embassy... does it get any better?  Well, possibly the White House, but in Paraguay it doesn't get better. =D

Everyone looked all spiffed up, and I'm sure I really impressed the Ambassador when I got of the bus wearing my anti-motion sickness bands on my wrists.  Gosh, I can be a nerd sometimes.  It didn't take long for some of us to jump right in the pool.  It's the first non-brown body of water that I've seen in 2 months, and it was glorious.  Seriously, what a change after last week at our sites... from the campo to super-chuchi.

Dinner was turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and some amazing pumpkin and pecan bars made by Medical Mary.  There were a few of us that got a little greedy before the meal even started.  I think I must have eaten at least 7 of those things.  Some people even ate two plates of desserts.  And they had coffee!  The ever-elusive beverage that I drank like 40oz a day of in the States... it was amazing.  I think all of us were really grateful to be there with each other.

Of course, all of this gorging didn't come without consequence... Food comas were aplenty.

I even got to watch some of the Lions game on satellite cable!  Sure, it was a horrible game for the Lions, but it was so nice to get to watch some futbol americano instead of soccer for once. Chake, Bryce... Chake (careful in Guarani).

I don't say it enough, but this group of volunteers is a really awesome group of people.  I haven't often been part of a group where everyone is so motivated and positive.  It was really great to just enjoy a good meal with each other, completely free of the recent stresses of site-selection and visits, and have fun together.  I think all of us have come to realize over the last two months how much we have to be thankful for.  Our standards have changed and we've been conditioned to live with less, but (at least in my case) I have a new appreciation for the love and support of an encouraging family and friends that are like brothers and sisters to me.  There's a lot of stuff that goes down in life, and the only consistent things are our relationships with God and with those we love.  Nothing else really matters, does it? 

I've been in a bit of a pressure-cooker for the last couple of weeks.  I've been praying consistently for wisdom, patience, grace, and compassion.  God often teaches us patience by putting us in situations where we have to be patient.  We don't just get a check in the mail for patience and then BAM--just have it.  These qualities have to be developed.  It was great just to be surrounded by 33 new good friends, let loose, and have a good time.

I often wake up in the morning forgetting that I'm here.  I mean--what an opportunity!  I still can't believe it sometimes that I'm living in South America, sometimes bucket-bathing, with all my clothes stained a pale orange color because of the dust in the air.  This is an experience that I don't want to take for granted, and I am so thankful to be here living this adventure!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! 

1 comment:

Aryn Shillair said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time. I'm so very thankful that you are having such a positive experience...not without challenges I know, but God is blessing you and your willingness to serve others. So sorry to miss you this weekend. :( Hopefully we can talk soon!
I also liked seeing your site visit photos. Looks like a beautiful place. Did you see any churches there that you could possibly check out?
Love you! I am very thankful for you!