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Photo by Caleb Brooks

10 Things I’m Thankful for this Thanksgiving

10 Things I’m Thankful for This Thanksgiving

  1. Good health
  2. Supportive family and friends
  3. A wonderful group Thanksgiving meal
  4. Learning about farming at the Organic Mahotsav
  5. Playing Catch with my homestay brother
  6. Feedback & Reflection
  7. Feeling comfortable enough in Udaipur to call it my home away from home
  8. Finding my anchors/grounders
  9. Opportunities
  10. Faith

This Thanksgiving, each member of our BYI family contributed a dish that reminded each of us of Thanksgiving with our families back home. Tejas made Apple Cider, Anna made Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Orange Sauce, a local stand-in for Cranberry Sauce, Max made Sweet Potato Casserole and Stuffing with a vegetable stock made by Sarah, Sydney and Pia made Sweet Potato Pie and Cookie Dough, and Fernando helped Neerav’s cousin Jaipal make chicken in addition to providing possibly the most American dish of our Thanksgiving meal, KFC, with Sijbren. I made Mac N Cheese. A friend from the community, Mackenzie, made Apple Crumble, and Shweta, our Program House Manager, made the dinner even more special with her presence and jokes about finally having us cook for her instead of it being the other way around. Although some things didn’t go exactly as planned- we couldn’t find cranberries for Anna’s sauce, the local sweet potatoes Max used for the casserole were white, not orange, and I used only two of the four cheeses called for in my cousin Sandra’s famous Mac N Cheese, between the moments shared in the kitchen and the smiles shared as we devoured our feast, holiday magic was truly alive in our program house. As we went around the circle sharing the people, institutions, and things we are all thankful for, I was filled with immense gratitude for all that we’ve experienced in these past three months and all that is still to come.

In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, we volunteered by serving food at the 2019 Organic Mahotsav (Festival), here in Udaipur. Organic Farmers from all over India gathered to exchange seeds and knowledge during the three day event. A lot of the skills we’ve been practicing were put to use during the Mahotsav- Hindi communication, humility, and self-reflection being a few.  Learning about farming in a direct way has increased my curiosity about food sources and the livelihoods of producers.

Volunteering at the event reminded many of us of the community service often done in the States around Thanksgiving time- collecting food and preparing and serving food at a local soup kitchen.

Although it is hard to be away from family during the holidays, spending Thanksgiving here in Udaipur has made me realize even more how much I have to be grateful for. For the opportunities, learning experiences, and adventures past, I am grateful. And for those yet to come, I am all the more grateful.