Today we had a day off in honor of Thanksgiving. Of course Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated here in Colombia, but my school likes to promote American culture as much as they can. Really though, Colombians seem to enjoy any possible opportunity to have a party. I arrived to the Colombo at noon to find this fancy spread in the atrium.
Our festivities began with a short presentation in the auditorium. Myself and some other teachers performed a short skit based on a Mad TV sketch. Another teacher sang a Guns ‘n Roses cover. You know, typical Thanksgiving stuff.
As the token American of Centro Colombo Americano I was forced to give a short “prayer” before we ate lunch. Given that I’m not a religious person I interpreted the task loosely and just talked about what I’m most thankful for here in Colombia. At the end it became apparent that I was supposed to have said grace or something. The lack of separation of church and state is still something that catches me by surprise here.
I had set my expectations low when I heard that some Colombians were going to try and recreate Thanksgiving dinner. But lo and behold, it was delicious – almost as delicious as real Thanksgiving lunch on Grandma’s farm. The highlights were mashed potatoes and turkey with gravy, the best stuffing ever and pecan pie. There was pumpkin pie too, but they didn’t get it quite right. Thankfully I was able to keep up the American tradition of eating so much food that I was left feeling uncomfortably full.
After lunch the dancing began! There was a band playing salsa and merengue and I worked up a sweat dancing for hours. All in all the celebration was beyond lovely and made me feel so at home here in Colombia. While it was not quite a replacement for Thanksgiving with my family in Colorado it reminded me that I’ve formed many beautiful friendships in my 7.75 months here and I felt very thankful to be able to spend the day with so many of the wonderful people I know here.