Tomorrow’s the big day. The day we pause to remember all that we’re thankful for. Sometimes when life is full of so many things it’s easy to skip out on sitting, being quiet, and marinating ourselves in all the goodness we have going on. Fortunately, Peace Corps has given me the gift of many of these moments (especially since Isaiah and I are sharing one computer).
Here are a few things that each of us are thanking our golden stars for this year:
Allison: Time. I’ve already said it, but it’s a biggie. Sure, we take part in events, hang out with new friends in the community, and plan for our future projects, but at least at this point we have more time on our hands than ever before. Well, except for that time we quit our jobs and lived in Ireland for two months. It lets us explore other interests—Isaiah is learning the guitar, and frankly I’m having a blast reflecting on my life and experimenting in the kitchen and then writing all about it on this blog.
Isaiah: Friends & Family. I know, it’s the typical don’t-want-to-hurt-yourself-thinking-about-it answer to the “what are you thankful for” Thanksgiving question. Fair enough, but since I’m so far removed from everyone I know and love for so long (except for Allison), I’ve felt it in a different way and pine for those familiar faces, traditions, and activities.
A: Isaiah. Being here with Isaiah is the greatest. Not only can we cook, read, or play games together but he also gives me the nudge, in his own gentle way, to break out of my box and surprise myself with all the things I’m able to do like have and mostly understand full phone conversations in Spanish! Then he’s there to celebrate these small victories with me.
I: Allison. Well, she put me so it’s kind of obligatory that I put her—just funnin’ with you, lover! I’ve been thankful for her for a long time, but sharing this adventure together is the best. I never feel alone, which is so common among volunteers, and have someone who knows and understands me and can make me feel good again after a particularly trying day in this foreign land.
A: Home Community. You guys rock! Just when I start getting lonely and long for the circle of amazing friends and family back home, someone drops us an email or blog comment saying how much they appreciate feeling along for our journey or how they were just thinking about us that day. It reminds me that we didn’t leave that circle of love, we brought it all the way down to Paraguay with us!
I: Peace Corps Opportunity. This unique blend of living in another country and serving is so exciting and rewarding for me right now. I have total control over my projects here and how they play out and, outside of starting my own business or after I’m retired, I’m not sure when my work will ever be quite like this again. Plus, I’ve met such a diverse, fun, and generous bunch of people who I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I: Mercado Cuatro. Literally, “Market 4,” this unassuming name belies the wonders that await the visitor in this popular market in the nation’s capitol. Blocks of vegetables, meats, spices, electronics, clothing, domestic goods, and everything else in a slightly grungy package make up this must-see place. This past weekend, for example, Allison and I were able to find nuts, chia seeds, and quinoa—all of which are practically unheard of here—and in bulk! After that we celebrated our magnificent finds with a spicy Korean feast in the Asian section of the market.
A: Peace Corps Network. The Peace Corps staff are passionate about their jobs and it’s contagious. The other volunteers are willing to share resources, expertise, or even goodies from a recent care package! And when a package of ours got stuck in a town a few hours north of us, we called up the volunteer in that town (although we had never talked to her before) and she immediately laid out her plan for going to the post office, picking up our package, and paying to send it down to us on the next bus out-of-town. We have a lot of peeps looking out for us and it’s pretty swell.
What are you thankful for this year?