Today’s blog is brought to by International Fellow Ryan Hage and his experience with his first Thanksgiving in Cyprus.
Thanksgiving in America is traditionally a time of eating way too much food and watching football all day long while you fall in and out of sleep on the couch. It has been this way since the very first Thanksgiving and will continue for the rest of time. It is also a time of thanks for what we have and the love that we are surrounded with.
Being so far away from home, I did not think I would be able celebrate this great occasion this year. I did not think the island of Cyprus even knew what a turkey was much less have one to purchase. After pretty much giving up before even trying, former Cypriot Fellow extraordinaire, Gunnar Hagstrom, emailed the whole PeacePlayers-Cyprus team to remind everyone that it is tradition that the Fellow cooks the Thanksgiving meal for the rest of the team. The challenge BEGAN.
I went to the largest grocery store on the whole island and actually found a turkey! There were only three in the whole store (maybe the only three on the island??). I may have called my mother thirty times over Skype, but the turkey actually tasted good! My coworkers and friends were nice enough to cook the sides so all I had to do was focus on the big turkey. Many familiar Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie were brought but also things like “Cypriot Stuffing” was brought that was a different and delicious form of stuffing I have never had before. Overall, the day was a gigantic success. I got to spend it eating with my closest friends on the island, most of whom were PeacePlayers workers and coaches.
I have so much to be thankful for these days. I have been here for almost a year and have made life long friends that I call my “PeacePlayers” family. I have a job that lets me share a game I love while also promoting peace at the same time. When I tell people about what I do, they always say that it’s a dream job. And it is. I will never be able to thank everyone enough on the island who have made me feel like a part of their family and invited me into their homes for food and great conversation. PeacePlayers is a special organization with exceptional human beings. I am thankful to be a part of it and will always be thankful that I was lucky enough to experience this in my life.