Friday, November 25, 2011
Thanksgiving was a little bit different this year, but certainly full of many things to be thankful for. Usually we begin the day of rest on Wednesday evening by traveling about an hour away from our house to San Pedro Perulapan, where four religious sisters of the Servants of Jesus´Presence reside (order of sisters with Heart´s Home). We typically have dinner with them, spend the night at the finca (property where the sisters grow coffee), and leave the following afternoon after attending Mass at the Church of San Pedro.
As we sat around the table at lunch discussing traditions of Thanksgiving and celebrating Jöel´s one year anniversary here in El Salvador (my brother in community from France that will be here until February), I found out we would be spending another night in San Pedro with the sisters. The whole day became a day of celebrating. We enjoyed ice cream cones for the first time since I´ve been here. And there were lots of sweets to enjoy all day. Not only do the sisters grow coffee, they also have bananas, plantains, oranges, and limes.
Aleth, a former missionary from France that served here in San Salvador about three years ago has been here since Sunday along with her husband Yoann. The two of them got married only three weeks ago, went on their honeymoon to Honduras and are now visisting with us until the beginning of December. At one point we all huddled around a small computer screen and viewed their beautiful pictures of their wedding. As we viewed the pictures, it was amazing to see how many people in attendance at their wedding are former missionaries or members of the Fraternity of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
I enjoy learning about other cultures and traditions that my community members have. We had people from France, Argentina, Brazil, Lebanon, and the USA all together for Thanksgiving. In my house there is Ana Laura from Argentina who has been here for 18 months and is leaving in February, Jöel from France has been here for 1 year and will be leaving us in February, Fabiane from Brazil has been here for 8 months and will be here for another 6 months, and Thomas from France has been here for 2 months and will be here for another 10 months. And then, there is me, from the USA, serving for about another 13 more months. Also in my house is Analía (consecrated lay missionary) who has been here for the last 3 years, is from Argentina and is currently in France working at an assisted living home until January).
At least one meal a day the topic of movies is brought up. The quotes ¨come back Jack!¨from the Titanic and ¨paz interior¨from Kung Fu Panda are some favorites of the house. I´m pretty sure everyone in my house is more familiar with American Films than me. The other day, the guys sang the French song that is always played in every movie when they show the scene of the Eiffel Tower. Maybe by the end of my mission I will know all of the words to it.
I think my favorite part of Thanksgiving was getting to share my favorite movie with everyone. For 3 hours we watched the Bollywood film, ¨Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The Brave-Heart will take the Bride)¨. We watched the film in Hindi with Spanish subtitles that we couldn´t help but laugh at, especially when the subtitles would suddenly become French for a moment and then switch back on their own. I´m glad they all enjoyed the film and that we were able to share in it together.
I have so much to be thankful for, including getting to Skype most of my family for the first time on Thanksgiving day!