This past week (and weekend), I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of my fellow American colleagues. The ELCA Global Mission teachers from all the cities in Slovakia and in Poland came to Bratislava for a group celebration.
Last Thursday, though, at the lyceum, we celebrated Thanksgiving on its actual day at a “turkey party” that the students have put on for the last five years. Some of my third-year students were the main organizers, and they did a fabulous job. The food included all the standard Thanksgiving food (and the turkey was from a small organic farm outside of Bratislava so it was amazing), with some Slovak specialties, too.
Four of the other teachers and I opened up the turkey party with a Thanksgiving “rap,” that included us dressing up as gangsta turkeys. My costume included a beak, turkey feat, orange tights, a sideways hat, and tail feathers (photos to come soon). The rap seemed to be a hit, and some of my students asked me to reenact it in class the next day. We may have to go on “tour” for Christmas, too.
This weekend, though, I got to meet the other two teachers who are in Tisovec. They came a month late because of a family issue, so it was my first time meeting them, and it was so fun to get to know them and hang out. We visited the Bratislava Christmas Market (as it was the opening night on Friday), and were already in a winter wonderland.
I also got to reunite with some of the teachers who I went through orientation with, and it was fun to hear about their experiences. Even though it has only been a few months since I last saw them, it felt like so much had happened, and orientation seems like it was a year ago.
After both the student turkey party and the teacher turkey party on Saturday, we played what’s called the “it” game. It’s kind of like the white elephant exchange, except a bit more aggressive. I walked away with a couple of books, a can of baked beans, and a cute snowman statue. I was pretty satisfied.
So, even though I didn’t get to be home with family, I was still surrounded by a type of family here.
This year what I’m most thankful for (besides family and friends, of course) is the experiences I have had so far and the ones to come, and all the wonderful new people I never even imagined I would meet.