My equipo in Lima is everything.
So last Thursday, we had to give thanks, and it may have been my best Thanksgiving ever.
After work I taxied home (because I just did not have time for Lima traffic and riding the public bus) and got to cooking. I was in charge of the stuffing, green beans, mac and cheese, and I even whipped up some cranberry bread as a bonus dish. It was my first time making stuffing, and in classic Mama Bo fashion, my mom sent me a very non-explicit set of directions. (I can’t be mad about it. I don’t really do recipes anyway… I guess I know where I get THAT from.) I was nervous that the mac and cheese wouldn’t be cheesy enough and the stuffing wouldn’t come out right…but everything ended up perfect and I got some pretty high compliments from the equipo. 😉
Because this was a Peruvian Thanksgiving dinner, we didn’t head over to Abby’s house until about 7:30, and dinner probably didn’t start until 8:30 (which is still early by Peruvian standards), but we made it work!
We had all the classics: Stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, mac and cheese, quinoa, sweet potato casserole, salad, and because no one wanted the responsibility of cooking a turkey, we ordered pollo a la braza from Pardo’s Chicken. It was the perfect Peruvian touch for our Friendsgiving fusion. We had tons of wine and too many desserts. It could not have been better.
The best part about the evening was sharing our culture with our Peruvian (and Uruguayan) friends. For just about all of them, this was the first time they had ever celebrated Thanksgiving, and the first time they tried stuffing and sweet potato casserole.
My favorite tradition during Thanksgiving is the part where everyone goes around and says what they are thankful for. We also shared this aspect of the holiday with our friends, and it was a beautiful bilingual combination of tears, joy, humor, and gratitude.
The things I am grateful for this year can be divided into two categories: “Superficial But Wonderful” and “Things That Make My Heart Explode.”
In the superficial category, I am thankful for podcasts, low bus fares, group chats, people who salsa dance with me even though I definitely don’t know how, low restrictions on illegally downloading music in Peru, and fresh avocados.
In the “Make My Heart Explode Category” I am overwhelmed with how lucky I feel to have been connected with such amazing people in the past year. My friends are the kind of people that will drop everything just to do something nice for someone in our group. They are the kind of people who will make your birthday celebration last an entire month because they want to bring you extra joy this year. They are the kind of people who bring you medicine when you’re sick, who are generally concerned for your safety when you text them and say you are about to walk into a sketchy elevator, and who tell you lies to boost your ego so you finish the hike up to the top of a mountain. They are friends who push you to be the best version of yourself, and forgive you when you’re not. But most importantly, they are the kind of friends who will always, always be there, no matter how much distance is between us.
And for that, I am thankful.