Over the weekend, the PCVs on St. Vincent got to celebrate Thanksgiving. It honestly was a very Vincy Thanksgiving. About 25 PCVs, host family members, co-teachers and families attended the Peace Corps Thanksgiving celebrations on Saturday November 28th. We had to work on Thursday since it is an American Holiday that is not celebrated here. It was a great opportunity to enjoy some wonderful food as well as share our American Holiday with the locals. We rented out a Boat House Bar right on the beach and they allowed us to use their kitchen, tables and space in exchange for the purchase of drinks at their bar.
The night before and morning of the big event, PCVs all around the Island were slaving over their wonderful dishes for the potluck. Among the dishes were turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole, macaronie pie, fried rice, apple pie, pumpkin cookies and chocolate mint cupcakes! I was responsible for making the stuffing. It was a great feast at a beautiful location with great company. As we enjoyed our meals we were able to look out onto the ocean and appreciate this beautiful island we live on. It was simple and easy to be thankful for the wonderful people around us (both PCVs and locals) and for this once in a lifetime opportunity we have to live and work in St. Vincent for two years.
A few things about this event made it a “Very Vincy Holiday”. One thing was the transportation to and from the event. As PCVs, we are not allowed to drive vehicles. So, as a result, most guests were forced to ride vans with loads of dishes piled on them and hope they made it to the venue without any meal casualties. Being on a van is hard enough, but add in steaming hot dishes and it becomes a whole different story. Also, waiting for a van at the time of the event could take between 30 minutes to an hour +. Now, another PCV and I got lucky and we were able to hitch a ride from his Counterpart Teacher on the way there. Other PCVs were not so lucky and had to endure the challenge of riding a van. I salute them.
After explaining the transportation system a bit, you may be able to understand why most people arrived between an hour and two hours late to the event. We call this “Island Time”. Yes, the transportation may have something to do with it, but also the mindset on time is so different here. I am slowly getting used to being patient and purposefully showing up a bit later to events. Some part of me still strongly refuses to be late to anything, however I truly do not have control over when I arrive anywhere. I have to let it go.
After the meal, most everyone parted ways. Some had to start their journey back to the Leeward side of the Island, some guests returned home to the Windward side, and a few stayed back to relax on the beach. I stayed back with a few PCVs and we enjoyed some rum while we chatted and enjoyed the cool breeze of the evening. Soon enough we had to start thinking about returning home. Getting a van home at any time from any place except Kingstown is very difficult. Most of the vans coming from town going up the Windward coast (which is where I live) are full. Most of the time, you need to catch a van going the opposite direction back into town before you can catch another van that is not full back to your village.
Another reason this truly was a Very Vincy Holiday is because of the weather. We live on a beautiful island that is between 78 and 80 degrees at all times. Mostly sunny with rain showers at times during rainy season. I keep waiting for the cold weather to set in since December is just around the corner, but it never comes. It was definitely unreal to experience this type of weather during Thanksgiving. I am used to cold weather and sometimes snow during this holiday back home, so it was odd to me to celebrate in such warm weather on the beach. I missed home and spending time with family and friends especially on this day. I am extremely grateful to have such supportive and wonderful people both back home and here in St. Vincent. I had a lot to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving Holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving from St. Vincent!!