SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
Another year, another Thanksgiving spent abroad.
When I tell people that it’s my favorite holiday they usually raise an eyebrow and reply, “but you’re vegan.” Thanksgiving isn’t about the turkey, but about the family and friends you sit around the table with. It’s not about the football game, but about recognizing all the experiences we’ve had and being together to celebrate all the little things that truly are the big things.
This holiday is BIG where I live. Everyone from our corner of Connecticut and beyond gets together with 20,000 of their closest friends to run in the Manchester Road Race, a tradition that has been in place for nearly a century. Thousands are outside drinking, celebrating, and cheering on the runners. It’s a celebration of togetherness and joy. This is what I miss most.
Though today I’m feeling a bit homesick for the people and places I love, it’s a time for me to reflect on all that’s important and how blessed I’ve been this year. I’ve had the unique pleasure this week of teaching my 4th grade Costa Rican students- who know nothing of this holiday- how we celebrate and what it means to be thankful, giving me a whole new understanding of this day which is so close to my heart.
Today I am most thankful for my experiences here in Costa Rica: my host mom who welcomed me into her home, the language and culture I’ve become immersed in, my travels around this beautiful country, the friendships I’ve made here, my loving friends and family back home, being healthy, my students young and old with whom I’ve been able to share my language and culture, my visitors who have brought with them a little piece of home, and most of all my amazing parents who have made it all possible. I am so lucky and so, so thankful.
And though I miss my place and my people a little extra today, I’m celebrating in my own way. I am truly lucky to have one of my best friends here in Costa Rica visiting me this week. Tonight we are planning on celebrating at our own Thanksgiving dinner (which will most likely include Chinese food and copious amounts of wine) and tomorrow at 4am we are heading off to Nicaragua for the weekend! Definitely feeling the pura vida today more than ever. What are you thankful for?