Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
We hope that you had the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful holiday and that you were able to enjoy it, whether with family and friends or by yourself.
Living in a foreign country has blessed me to be able to zoom in on each holiday and really study the “WHY” we celebrate it. Costa Rica celebrates MANY of the same holidays we celebrate in the United States, they just may not be celebrated on the same dates. Such as: Mother’s Day, Independence Day and Christmas. The BIG Christmas celebration is celebrated on Christmas Eve in Costa Rica, where I grew up celebrating it on Christmas Day.
The holidays that Costa Rica celebrates with the United States are: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Father’s Day, and Halloween. Some additional holidays that we have experienced in Costa Rica are: Holy Week, Virgin of Los Angeles Day (Costa Rica’s most celebrated holiday which is a mass pilgrimage on foot to Cartago City’s Basilica, mostly via freeway, where they pay honor to La Negrita (the black virgin) and ask for a wish to be granted – it is very interesting to watch so many people participate in this holiday each year) and Children’s Day.
By living in a foreign country, I have learned that holidays truly are what YOU make of them.
If you are not a big holiday person, you will not celebrate a holiday unless you feel pressured by the community you are in to celebrate as well. I have also learned how deeply TRADITION sinks into our very bones. I have watched my children encounter a surge of excitement or anticipation without anything being on our calendar to celebrate or look forward to, only to learn that “back in Utah” everyone is on break for UEA or a 4 day weekend is being celebrated for a holiday we do not recognize in Costa Rica (President’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc.)
So this year, we have decided to learn about holidays and then decide for ourselves IF we want to celebrate this holiday too?
I told the children that they could earn the Friday after Thanksgiving off from school if they would do some intense research on Thanksgiving. They were given the task to watch a list of YouTube videos that taught about the Mayflower, The Pilgrims or Squanto. Each day after school, for a week, the kids would watch a show. Then on a grid sheet they were to compile their data to see what information was consistent, thus possibly being true. They were also to look for information that was not consistent but maybe they felt was actually truth.
After a week of research, the kids determined that the best sources of information that they felt held the most accurate truth, and was also enjoyable to watch, was “This is America Charlie Brown – The Mayflower” and “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving.”
But, the children were not yet finished. Now they needed to write an essay about WHY they want to celebrate this holiday and how they will teach it to their own children. It was VERY eye opening to see what their answers were and how much they actually supported this holiday. I also feel that they learned the true reasons to celebrate this holiday, thus being able to support it throughout their own lives.
These essays were due the day before Thanksgiving which allowed the children to be prepared to now practice celebrating Thanksgiving the way they felt it should be celebrated. I LOVED this experience! This was the FIRST HOLIDAY that the kids didn’t wake up and immediately start bugging us about “When will we be going to dinner? When will we be leaving?” Instead, they chilled out and just ENJOYED the holy-day that they had before them.
El Gringo got to work on building some AMAZING creations. He got the ideas from The Lego Idea Book but I think his creations are far BETTER than the book’s example. AND . . . these are NOT A KIT. El Gringo had to dig into his Lego containers and collect each of the intricate pieces he needed to make his creations.
Hallelujah! FINALLY my kids are realizing that they have almost all the Legos they will ever need. Thanksgiving miracles REALLY DO happen Charlie Brown!!
I spent the morning with my attentive Visiting Teachers, enjoying the testimonies we each shared with each other about “What would our lives be like without The Book of Mormon?” I can’t think of a better start to this wonderful holiday. The kiddos enjoyed playing with the baby of one of my Visiting Teacher’s while we talked. Our family sure does enjoy this little girl!
Then it was time to make the foods we agreed to bring to the feast that was starting at 4:30 p.m. Paul put a ham in a crockpot on low to cook all day (not the best idea of mine . . . it made the ham too moist and almost rubbery). I put together our potato dish while Paul whipped up some sugar cookie dough. We decided to make root beer flavored frosting and orange flavored frosting. The cookies were difficult to resist but we did thankfully!
Due to our family car situation, we had to split up into two cars. Paul and GingerSnap took an Uber, the rest of us drove in the company car. While the kids and I were driving to Santa Ana, we came upon a very strange situation.
We all started to giggle. NO WAY would this be allowed in the United States! The poor kid was so wrapped up in his phone, he didn’t brace himself for a sharp left turn and almost flew out of the couch, hitting the metal railing. But he shrugged it off and stayed focused on his phone, but we all had a good laugh.
After some CRAZY traffic (at least this year we weren’t under a hurricane alert), we arrived at the Blunt’s home and spent the next 3 hours enjoying great food, good conversation and making memories we hope we will cherish.
The Blunt’s home was the perfect fit for such a crowd. Paul and I enjoyed sharing our meal at the “kiddie table” because it allowed us to eavesdrop on the awesome teenager conversations that we going on!
It was nice to wrap up around 7:30 p.m. and head home, but not before taking a photo of the little ones together.
Curly Cook is REALLY going to miss her friend Sebastian (to the right of her). He has been a good friend for her to have in Costa Rica. The Blunt family will be moving back to the United States, early next year, just like all the other families we have had the chance to meet. We sure will miss their family! Thank you Katrinka and Bobby for a wonderful 3 years of Thanksgiving in Costa Rica at your home!!!
After living outside the United States for 34 months, I can safely say that holidays with family are truly a blessing. Just being around the ones you love, and might love you back, is a gift. And trying to recreate that experience far away from home can be painful. Thankfully, having those around you who understand this unique kind of pain is a soothing balm and allows you to open your eyes to new experiences to cherish and lean upon the rest of our lives.
Thank you to those families and friends who have loved us the last 34 months in Costa Rica and helped us to feel part of something bigger. We love you!
Katrinka, Bobby, Lachlan, Talea, Torrean, and Sebastian Blunt
Dayna, Glenn, Brynne, and Braeden Karlinsey
Shayla, Logan, Ainsley and Micah McCune
Beth and Randy Hamilton Family
Lisa, Richard, Maylee, Spencer, Steven, Ezra, and Benjamin Robbins
Sheila, Mark, Tristen, Braden, Camden and Madison Reed
Thanks for listening,