“I’m going to miss Thanksgiving”. The words were uttered months before we even left the United States and innumerable times since then. To us, Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday, a chance to spend a day with family and friends, a day off of school, the day before we decorate for Christmas, a day of incredible food, and, most importantly, a day of Thankfulness. We all love Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, the realization of Thanksgiving as an American holiday (obviously), was upsetting to say the least. The four other Americans on campus agreed.
Thankfully, the head chef is an amazing man.
What started off as a “we don’t happen to be having turkey tomorrow?” became a “We will change the menu tomorrow night and cook everyone a Thanksgiving meal.”. Richard, the head chef, discovered a turkey breast in the freezer and things increased from there.
Thanksgiving night, we kids and Sarah, a sweet American on team, walked down early to Cedars to put tables together for all the American people. One of the MSG guys hung up a huge American flag on the wall, Thanksgiving puppets Elise and Abby had made were taped on the wall, a paper card displaying a cut-out turkey (mailed to us by Mrs. Zdonek. THANK YOU!!) was proudly displayed at the center of our table, and appetizers were placed around the room. People arrived and were eager to learn what this dinner was honoring.
The Cedars team outdid themselves. Our appetizers were delicious and the main meal consisted of turkey, duck, chicken, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie were served. In addition, ribs, chicken wings and dressing was offered to people seated by two of the cooks. It was amazing. All of the Americans plus as many other people we could pull up a chair for sat together. My Dad stood up and prayed for everyone in the dining hall and my mom explained the purpose behind Thanksgiving.
It was an evening of laughing and sharing. So many different cultures sitting together and sharing in a meal of Thankfulness. Everyone agreed it was a night to remember.
Things We are Thankful for:
1. I have to put at the beginning of the list how thankful my family and I are for the amazing team members who made Thanksgiving so special for some home-sick Americans. These guys do so much for us and we appreciate them beyond anything they will ever know. We love you guys.
2. Our house. So much effort was put into it even before we arrived, and we are still thanking God for that amazing ability of His to provide for our every need.
3. Dutch Blitz. If you haven’t played this speed card game, I strongly advise you to. We have literally spent hours on the floor of the coffee lounge playing this game with friends.
4. For bikes. Through a combination of three awesome MSG guys, a team girl who was leaving, and God, all five of us kids have bikes!!! This is a huge blessing and a lot of fun.
5. The three week break coming up at the end of Stage 1 on December 14. My dad has a car on reserve to be leased for our break – yeah!
6. Guitars to play worship music on. During the weekend afternoons, some of us join up with various other team members and NETS students and hang out in the coffee lounge or Creativity room. We usually spend about three hours singing, playing card games, drawing, working, and laughing a lot at everything. It is so much fun and really brings everyone closer together. (Especially when you have a Welsh guys speaking in Welsh, a Zimbabwe guy speaking in Zulu, and a video camera – great things happen.)
7. Friends. We are thankful for new friends here and friends back in the States. We are thankful for their selflessness, support, encouragement, smiles, and phone calls. Thanks guys.
8. We are thankful for Rachael. ALWAYS thankful for Rachael. I’m going to write a whole blog post only about her some time…
9. We are thankful for Vitamin C supplements to fight vicious colds.
10. Last but not least, we are eternally thankful for our amazing Father in Heaven and His provision to my family and me.