Monday, November 28, 2011

Day of Thanks

We started the day Thursday with a nippy bike ride on our 70's-era Motobecane roadies, pulled out from their storage spot above Ben's parent's woodpile. Whenever we get on these bikes, I marvel that they once took us all the way across the United States. (Check this video out. That's us!). And I give thanks for my best friend, the adventures that we've had and the adventures that we keep having.

This week's adventure? Thanksgiving in America. It's been a few years since we spent a holiday here  and I didn't grow up in this country, either. So, there are things about "the holidays" that seriously creep me out. Like lines of kids waiting to talk to people dressed up as Santa Claus. And Black Friday. Driving to my sister's house Thanksgiving night I was amazed (and let's be honest, a little bit self-righteously horrified) by packed out store parking lots.

I also think dedicating an entire day to the glossing over of our nation's history is weird. Did you know that the original Day of Thanksgiving was declared by the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in celebration of the massacre of 700-some native peoples? Just saying. It's important that we acknowledge the truth about our heritage and holidays...

So that we can then reclaim them! Because I think it's wonderful to have a day once a year to dwell specifically on the things that we're thankful for. We probably need more than one day. I came up with quite the "thankful for" list, myself.

Near the top of my list, I give thanks for our families. Spending time with them these last two weeks has been fantastic. My parents are in Cameroon and it's very sad not to be able to see them, but we've gotten in good quality time with my sis, Ben's parents and some of his siblings (big family, 10 kids). The food our families have been feeding us has also been fantastic. (Seriously, that bike ride was not just for fun. And we probably need to go on about ten more, except that with broken front brakes and a chain that needs replacing, my bike is sadly more out of shape than I am). My brother-in-law went so far as to brew beer and butcher a rabbit in anticipation of our visit.

Maybe with enough coaxing, Ben - who tonight is sleeping in the JFK airport en route to Haiti - will post a picture or two of family time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

October in Photos

We're posting this from North Carolina. I know, our trip snuck up on us, too! I found myself calling friends and a few colleagues on our way to the airport Saturday to let them know that we would be out of the country for a few weeks. Oops.

October was such a busy month that we didn't get around to blogging about some really important stuff. Like the worrisome fact that grocery stores in Port-au-Prince had Christmas decorations out by mid-October. And the excitement of finding shallots sprouting in the compost pile.
Like friends getting hitched.
And like the peasant women's association celebration we attended during which I, in all my plaid-shirt and hiking-booted glory, was asked to give an impromptu speech.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


In Haiti, Gede (or any of its alternate spellings) welcomes us to November. November 1st, All Saints Day, and November 2nd, All Souls Day, are national holidays. The gede are the somewhat raunchy spirits that preside over death... and sex.

Here is a picture Ben took last year in the National Cemetery:

Also, check out these photos from Day of the Dead celebrations throughout Latin America. I think Port-au-Prince needs a zombie walk.


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