The First Thanksgiving

After a few days at Reconnect with our original training group, Isaiah and I headed to Villarrica, the town where our fellow volunteers Jon and Nalena live. Nalena’s dad was visiting after some work related travel to Buenos Aires and the 5 of us had a blast together.

We spent most of Thursday leisurely cooking and chatting and snacking until the big beautiful meal that was well worth all the preparation. We made citrus rubbed chicken, bacon mashed potatoes and gravy, rosemary dinner rolls, roasted carrots and beets in a ginger sauce, and apple and raisin stuffing. We all agreed it was absolutely delicious food – and not just for Paraguay!

We had to wait until breakfast the next morning to try the apple pie and pumpkin pie made from a squash from Jon and Nalena’s garden. I was impressed and pleased with our first Thanksgiving meal as Peace Corps Volunteers. The leftovers have been just as good.

With around 50,000 residents, Villarrica is a much bigger town than where we live in Yuty. Such a city, in fact, that it has an actual coffee shop with good coffee, layered yummy drinks and complimentary fresh squeezed orange juice and cute sprinkled chocolates. Whoa Villarrica!

It’s true I spent a lot of time exclaiming things like, “Whoa, you have ______ here?” when I saw things that we spent two days hunting down in the heat of Asunción. We’re discovering where we can source food or products and it looks like we’ll have more reasons than Jon and Nalena to visit Villarrica again (although their good cooking they would have been reason enough).

They even have carpinchos (capybaras), the largest rodent in the world, waltzing around near the lake in the town’s park. One of the big guys startled me when he galloped away when I squatted down for a photo-op.

Isaiah had more success beside two of them.

So our first Thanksgiving in Paraguay has set the bar very high for future holidays. Delicious food, fun people, huge rodents–it doesn’t get much better than that. And we’re excited to attend a special event tonight. You could even say we’re going gaga about it.

What did you cook for Thanksgiving this year? Anyone else have an up close and personal experience with a capybara?


15 thoughts on “The First Thanksgiving

  1. Dear Allison: We stayed with your Mom & Dad over Thanksgiving…..your spirit was with us! I think there were three rounds of up to ten and back and plenty of pie. You were missed but it looks like you are having such fun and we are happy to read about your experiences through this blog. Much love from Steve, Tam, Conrad, Edward & Mary

  2. I was very impressed with the food AND the rodent! Looks like a wonderful time. And is it true . . . Lady Gaga tonight??

    • Even though Thanksgiving Day was over 100 degrees plus humidity, it was worth it b/c all the food turned out so well! As for the gaga, you’ll have to wait until Wednesday’s post but I’ll give you a clue – YES!

  3. Dear Allison: Your Mom said it takes a while for packages to arrive to you. We are sending our holiday card and package tomorrow. Anything you two need or want???

    • Oh that’s so super sweet of you guys. Really, whatever you think is wonderful! But if you’re looking for suggestions, we both love dark chocolate and Isaiah misses good coffee since it’s just instant stuff around here. Or curry powder to jazz up some meals. I hope that’s helpful but whatever you were thinking will be much appreciated!

  4. Pingback: Thanksgiving 2013 | Gold Stars & Double Rainbows

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