Okay, a Thanksgiving post was just a must have right? And that’s all I want to do here – give thanks. Because there is a TON to give thanks for, I’m just going to let my stream of consciousness run free for this one….
I’m thankful for my family. For my family in the States – Mom, Dad, Allen, Louisa, Grandparents, Karin, Cousins, Uncles, Aunts, pets – all the people who I am missing like crazy today and can’t wait to see in a month. For my family in Honduras, for welcoming me into their homes and into their lives as if I were one of their own, family I have come to love in Trinidad, Tela, or right here in Trascerros with our unconventional family of coworkers, kids, and nanny during the weekdays. Also for the Siembra theatre group, who might as well be family too! And finally, for my host family in Ecuador, especially for mi ecuamadre Magi, who I think of often and don’t talk to nearly enough as I should. Really hoping to visit her soon!
I’m thankful for Bridgewater College. For all that it taught me, for the people I met there and for the experiences we shared. For the opportunities it gave me, expanding my horizons, and transforming me as a person. For my professors and my mentors and, most of all, my friends!
I am thankful for my friends. Yes, I said it twice. Friends from babyhood (Katie, I’m looking at you chica! YJDEK). Friends that I still have from highschool that remain in touch because we’re worth it to one another (Smelliot George you earn a special note here for most likely to keep in touch with me despite being at another university, or in another country for that matter!). For housemates (Kristi and Corlita I can’t wait to see you for New Years!!!! Counting down the days :D ) for soulmates (Stina, mi media mandarina, eres irremplazable! No puedo esperar estar contigo de nuevo, gracias a Dios tenemos todas nuestras vidas para tener adventuras juntas! tkm) and for the friends that have inspired me, that I have treasured, and who are far too numerous to all be listed here (and yet must be mentioned as best as possible…Loganne, Matt, Alicia, Rim, Kelly, Bethany, Aislinn, Jesse, Nick, Jules, Lindsay, Nathaniel, JJ, Elizabeth, Emiliano, everyone at NCP in Hburg, Cory, Carolyn, Jen, Emily…and everyone else, you know who you are!).
I’m thankful for music. For the joy that it brings me, for the way it has allowed me to connect to others, for the ability to both listen to and share it!
I’m thankful for my church families (maybe that should have gone in the first paragraph, but oh well!). For St. Philip and for the Thanksgiving feast that they share with the Roanoke community each year, spreading the love of Christ beyond our church doors! For Muhlenberg, who also does amazing work in the community, especially I want to give thanks today for its ministry with Second Home – I pray for that program often and the kids and families remain on my heart daily! For LCM, for the best friends one could ask for in that group. I wish I had spent more time with them during my college years, but am so thankful for the time we did share! Thankful also for the VA Synod and the ELCA, I am so proud to be a Lutheran and give thanks for this church that wants to make the world a better place. Special thanks especially to Dave Delaney.
I’m thankful for all the opportunities that I have had in this life, especially for traveling. For my incredible, life changing experience in Ecuador. For BCA and Daniel Bryan, the best study abroad director there ever was! For Nepal, and for the New Community Project learning tour that opened my eyes to a whole other side of the world, an entirely new extreme of poverty, and a beautiful people and culture, and a fight for women’s justice more than worth fighting for! Also I give thanks for the New Community Project for giving me the opportunity to be here in Honduras to work with CASM, an experience that has impacted me and continued to help me to grow, and without a doubt is preparing me for the next two years I will be spending in El Salvador with the Peace Corps.
I also give thanks for my country, the United States, for all of the opportunities that it gives to young people. Because despite all of the mess that our government is, I am thankful for the freedoms that we have, the protection we enjoy, and the fact that I feel I can participate and speak my mind about what needs to change without fear.
I’m thankful for the people I have met here in the communities. For teaching me so much through their faith, humbleness, and generosity. For our conversations in the charlas, for inspiring me to continue working for women’s equality in the world…we have a long ways to go still, but I’m thankful to be part of progress!
Thankful for CASM and for all of the ways in which it helps these people, for the work and dedication of my coworkers, and for all that the institution has taught me about community development work. Also for Don Tatlock and CWS, who helped make it possible for me to be here, and for all of the support that they give to CASM and other organizations around the world.
Thankful for Ann Zeigler, for sharing with me her BVS work at the Hogar and for the kids who live there and are given so many opportunities for a better life as a result! Also for Ann’s practically host family who shared a weekend with me, they were absolutely lovely and welcoming and even if I never see them again I am grateful for the moments we shared playing Kims, letting our minds run free between English and Spanish languages, impromptu dance parties, Nutella and other delicious foods, and just kicking back and enjoying one another’s company!
I’m thankful for the fact that I’m here and alive today. That I am healthy, safe, and that no harm has come to me in my travels.
Oh! I’m also thankful for CENIT and my volunteer experience in Ecuador, for all of the volunteers that I was able to meet through that organization and for all the kids that we worked with, their hugs and laughter are unforgettable.
I’m thankful for art and for the people who protect cultural traditions. For good books, for lyrics that carry important messages, for actors and actresses who hope to transform others through their performance (Louisa Britt I know you do this and it inspires me!!!), for photography like Humans of New York that show us a little bit more of humanity each day.
For running, even though I haven’t been able to do it hardly at all in Honduras, it is both a challenge and a therapy to me, and I’m thankful that I still have the health and the knees to do it. And thankful for all of my running counterparts who inspire me to hit the pavement time and time again, especially Katie, Grandpa, and Chum.
For nature, even though we mistreat and destroy it. For all the natural wonders of this world, the ones that I have seen and the ones that I will see, and the ones I will only ever know in pictures. But just thankful that they exist. And praying that we can preserve what’s left. Thankful for the Amazon and for its secrets, for its people and their traditions, and for its supporters trying to protect the land and everything that inhabits it. Thankful for mountains, especially the Blue Ridge which may not be as big as the Andes or the Himalayas, but will always be the most beautiful and most treasured to me.
For good food, for all the deliciousness I have been able to try here, and for the food that I will get to enjoy again when I go back home. Thankful that I don’t worry about going hungry, and praying praying praying for the people in this world who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or if it will come at all. I give thanks for the Drumstick Dash in Roanoke and for the Rescue Mission’s work. Wishing I could be there dashing along with everyone this morning, moving our feet so others can eat!
I’m thankful for technology. For the way that it helps me to keep in touch with others. For free promotional minutes to call the United States from my Tigo phone company here. For the wonders of skype and fb messaging. For email. For blogs, that allow me to share my experiences as well as read up on others’. For all the ways that technology brings this globalized world and the people in it together for GOOD CAUSES and creates solidarity despite lines of cultural, social, and political differences.
I’m sure there is more that I haven’t mentioned here, but these are the things I am most thankful for today.
Happy Thanksgiving! Feliz Dia de Gracias!
P.S. - You might be wondering how I'm celebrating Turkey Day here, the truth is not much other than expressing gratitude to the people around me. Things are also a bit crazy here this weekend as me and my CASM counterparts are traveling to a national conference for all of the CASM employees, but I am hoping to share a belated turkey dinner with my host family the following weekend!