We just returned from a Thanksgiving Eve service at our church. By the time I got home, I was so filled with thankfulness that I decided I would try to get a quick blog posted before preparing my turkey for roasting. I feel so blessed to be a part of the beautiful cultures around me. Experiencing these cultures reveals a side of God and of humanity I had not heretofore been blessed with knowing and experiencing.
It's difficult explaining to people that although our college is on Guam, almost all of our students are from remote islands surrounding Guam. These islands represent very distinct cultures, cultures very different from Guam's culture; although, there are definitely some cultural similarities. Our church is primarily a Chamorro church, the indigenous people of Guam. It has been such a joy to be a part of this church family. Tonight at church, one of the ladies gave me a Tahitian Ginger Torch (see pictures on this post). It was an amazing flower that has no odor and looks completely fake! It even felt like plastic! I marveled at another treasure that someone was kind enough to share. Throughout the night, I laughed thinking of the days I used to be awe-struck when hearing about someone entertaining twenty people for Thanksgiving. Here on Guam, twenty people is a puny, unheard of gathering. There will be at LEAST that many at a family gathering and often closer to or exceeding a hundred. The event is NEVER held IN someone's house because no one's home is big enough to house that many people. There will be HUGE heavy-duty canopies set up and everyone will eat outside in the 86+ degree weather accompanied with high humidity. And there will always be more than enough food. But, the food, even on Thanksgiving, will be more "fiesta" type food than traditional Thanksgiving fare. Afterall, how can you have a Chamorro gathering without red rice and ribs? And, how can you celebrate Thanksgiving with Micronesians without fish? And so, tomorrow at noon, we, the staff at PIBC will bring the fixings and will gather with our students for a Thanksgiving meal. Then, at 5:00 p.m. our immediate family will head to a friend's house to share a Chamorro Thanksgiving dinner. I can hardly wait to see what cultural gems I will encounter tomorrow. And I can only inadequately express the thankfulness I feel to be working here.