Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks

Here's the deal: You have traveled thousands of miles to a strange new land, not entirely sure you have made the right choice. The new country is very different than what you're accustomed to--vast and isolated, only magnifying your homesickness. You find yourself taking wrong turns and getting lost each time you venture out. Then one day you bump into some kind strangers, who help you find your way around. They dispel your fears by letting you know there are no bears and wolves lurking in the forest, and they show you the best places to find food, and where to cut firewood. They loan you their tools and their expertise. At the end of the autumn you find yourself celebrating the harvest by sharing a feast with these kind people. As you tuck into a nice roast turkey leg you wonder whether you would have been able to get through the winter in one piece without their help.

Sound familiar?

We thought about what the Pilgrims must have gone through as we shared Thanksgiving dinner with Simon and Gareth and Christine, and Simon's next door neighbors Glen and Joanne. Everyone brought food, there was way too much, but it was such fun. After the turkey, Joe and I went ice skating in the moonlight with Gareth and Christine while Simon took a much needed cat nap. We came back for pumpkin pie and a movie, squeezing together on the couch with one of the puppies.

It would have been a lonely Thanksgiving for Joe and I in Fairbanks without our families. Thankfully, Simon and his family and friends have become a surrogate family to us. We thought about the Pilgrims relying on the kindness of strangers to help them get through their first winter in a strange new land. The rest is history, so we know we will do fine in Alaska.

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