Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Multitude of Thanks

Spending Thanksgiving outside of the United States is always difficult. No one else truly understands this amazing holiday and all that it stands for like Americans. There is definitely something to be said about the smells of turkey cooking in the oven, football announcers on the TV, and family chatting away about their latest accomplishments. Sadly, I have missed all of these sensations for the past 4 years.

This year, as I was sitting at a resort overlooking the Caribbean Sea waiting for our Thanksgiving meal to be served, I had some time to accurately reflect on my past three months here in Colombia and what I am truly thankful for:

1. The amazing group of people that make up my cohort, C II-6. Without the support and friendship of these 32 other volunteers, this experience would not be anything close to what it has been so far. From the moment that we met in Miami, we clicked and it has continued to this day.

2. The two host families that I've had the privilege to live with while here in Colombia. They have both opened up their homes and families to me and have helped make the transition from US to coastal life a rather smooth one.

3. Cold showers all the time. This is definitely one that I didn't think I would ever appreciate, but with the constant heat, sometimes the bathroom under the shower head is the coolest place in the entire house.

4. The ability to run. My friend, Derek, and I recently completed a 10K, which I finished in right around an hour. One of the things that I was afraid of coming into this experience was that I would have to give up running. However, that has not been the case and I'm currently looking forward to checking another item off my bucket list - completing a full marathon this upcoming September in Medellin!

5. My school and counterparts. While I haven't officially started working at El Campito yet, I was invited by my counterparts (pictured below) and a few of the students to attend their prom last week. It was quite an interesting experience, complete with party hats, a live, traditional Colombian band, and lots of dancing. I feel very honored to be at the school that I am and cannot wait to start working with everyone at the school.

6. All Volunteer Conference. This conference, which is held once again and brings all of the current volunteers in Colombia together for three days to discuss important events, was held at this beautiful resort outside of the town Salgar, right along the Caribbean coast. The conference was a real chance for us to get to know the other volunteers in the country, while also having the opportunity to see our fellow CII6ers that moved to other cities. We had a "Thanksgiving" meal and enjoyed the beach and pool to the max. It was a very relaxing and rejuvenating couple of days.

7. Access to technology. Many people associate the Peace Corps with being thrown out into the wild with no access to any modern conveniences. While this may be true for some posts, that's not the case here in Colombia, as we are a mainly urban site. With this comes the ability to have internet at our houses (in most cases). This makes keeping in touch with loved ones and friends from back home a lot easier. Without this "luxury" this past three months would have been a lot more lonely...
8. My family back home. It's always super reassuring to know that you have a strong support system, backing you up no matter where you might call home. Without the amazing support that I have received from my entire family over these last 4 years, there's no way that I would be where I am today or the person that I am today. So even though I had to spend a 4th Thanksgiving on another continent/state, know that I am beyond thankful for everything that you have done for me and will continue to provide for me throughout these next two years. I love you guys!

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