It's my second year of having Thanksgiving away from my family. Last year I was in New Jersey with Ronnie's folks. This year, I am in the middle of Mexico. But to say that I was away from family doesn't feel right either. Last year I was with Ronnie's wonderful family who always treat me like one of their own. This year, I was with my new international family. The magic of the holiday and the feeling of a family that goes beyond blood relations was one of the most powerful emotions I have experienced in my time here.
Ronnie and I were invited to go to the annual Thanksgiving Celebration out at Rancho Casa Luna by Dianne. We instantly said yes and asked if we were allowed to invite others. "The more the merrier!" Dianne smiled! So we also invited Eleanor, who invited her "daughter," Laurel and her boyfriend Chris, and we also invited our newest members of our family
, Macky and his wife Aissa. Pedro, another close friend of Eleanor's who we had hung out with before also joined us.
We met at Casa Luna Pila Seca and took a van out to the Rancho. It was
the perfect weather. Just warm enough and clear enough to see the endless rolling hills in the distance. We were greeted with Margaritas with cactus fruit syrup. What a way to start a Thanksgiving! We chatted with other guests and met people from all over the world. We ate guacamole and my cheeks got rosy from the margaritas. After awhile, we went into the large dining room where two fresh salads were waiting for us. After our first toast, we gobbled down the salad and then went to the buffet to load up our plates.
The food was amazing. It was prepared by Kirsten West, the chef we took a cooking class with, and she did not disappoint! What an interesting fusion of two cultures. We had turkey in red mole poblano sauce, cornbread stuffing with apples and oysters, sweet potatoes with chipotle, vegetables in bread crumbs, Mexican red rice with peas, corn with aged cheese...and then pumpkin pie with grilled pineapple and carmel...and all of this tasted better than I could have dreamed. While we were eating, laughing, toasting, and sharing stories, I looked around at our table of amazing people, all sharing their holiday. A couple from
the Philippines who just moved to SMA, a well-traveled Mexican, an inspiring woman who has lead a lifetime of adventures, a couple from Denver who have lived in other countries, a man from New York who has always followed his heart and me, the little hippie from San Francisco...all of us thankful for our lives, our experiences and the joy of having a Thanksgiving meal with those different and yet the same as themselves. I felt so warm and moved by our meal and our time together.
Afterwards we went back to our casita and partied with more tequila and laughed even louder than before. Once the clock stuck 9:00, we were all hungry again and so we ordered some tacos to be delivered from the taco stand nearby.
I did miss my real family a lot this year. Throughout the day, I imagined what everyone was doing, when they were eating, when they were pulling names for Secret Santa for the Christmas I am going to be missing and the annual viewing of the 80's comedy Trains, Planes and Automobiles
...but I learned another important lesson this year: The meaning of Family. It is more than those
that have known you your whole life, but can be someone you just met last week. The feeling is still there. Here's a toast to all of our family out there. Happy Holidays.
I also want to take a moment to say thanks to all of you who have visited us in the last 6 months. I am going to post a picture of all of you. We are thankful for your company! Xoxo.
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