Last year we had an intimate and delicious Thanksgiving at Jon and Nalena’s house in Villarrica. This year we took part in a large, energetic gathering of around 15 of us. What didn’t change, though, was the delicious factor.
Volunteers as well as an incredibly warm and thoroughly interesting couple who are currently couch-surfing around Paraguay, traveled in from all parts of the country to a pretty city up north, home of the lovely Jess. Claps, cheers, and hoots rang out each time a new traveler arrived, sweaty and tired but in good holiday spirits.
What a bond we all have. Brought together in this strange and exhilarating experience that is Peace Corps. Surely missing family traditions from back home, but equally energized to enjoy a unique and scrumptious Thanksgiving here in Paraguay with a new kind of family.
We cooked and snacked and laughed and drank tereré. Everyone prepared a dish or two to share in the Thursday afternoon Thanksgiving feast. And boy was it pleasing to the taste buds!
We even kicked off the meal by sharing something we are thankful for, which more often than not included this awesome experience we’re in the midst of as well as the plethora of people we’ve met and become friends with because of it.
The most delicious pies (thanks to the pros Jon and Nalena) were devoured later that evening along with games and sharing and the thrill of being together.
There may have even been a little hair braiding, just for good measure.
Oh, and that tasty pie? We had it for breakfast the next morning too.
It was a wonderful celebration and so authentically Peace Corps Paraguay. The intertwining of American and Paraguayan traditions, the mix of English and Spanish and Guaraní (and French and Swedish thanks to our new traveling friends), and the ability to roll pie dough with an empty wine bottle instead of a rolling-pin or take turns using the oven or the stove, since they don’t work at the same time, or to draw a little water from the well when the running version went out for a short time – all without flinching – is what made this year something to be truly thankful for.