I was still in Guatemala when friends in Merida, Mexico, were asking if anyone was hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Most of us are ex-pats and digital nomads, so without someone hosting, we would all be alone during the holiday.
I knew I wouldn’t be getting back from Guatemala until the early morning hours of the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving, but the thought of all the people in our amazing community not having anywhere to go for Thanksgiving weighed heavily on my heart.
“I’ll host!” I stated to our super-large WhatsApp group. One-by-one everyone chimed in that they were coming. We got to 34 people very quickly, and then nerves set in.
I have never been a good hostess.
I don’t know what I am doing.
What if no one shows up?
I don’t cook.
I am going to be exhausted when I get back from Guatemala.
These were only some of the thoughts running through my head right after I said I would host 34 people at the Single Moms DO Travel House.
I’d love to say I got back to Merida and hit the ground running with preparing for the biggest hosting event of my life, but that would be a lie.
The truth is that I actually had a dinner party to go to the night I got back to Merida. We ate delicious food, drank way too much wine, and slept in way too late the next day, which was the day I needed to get groceries for Thanksgiving.
I should also add that I completely forgot that you needed to get the turkey a few days before Thanksgiving so it could defrost in time and that I needed to get tables so the thirty-plus people coming would have somewhere to sit other than the floor.
Luckily, my beautiful friend, Barbara, ordered three tables for me, saving me from having to struggle through a Spanish-only conversation with my super-limited Spanish vocab. Let’s just be honest here and say that my Spanish game is weak!
Have you ever tried searching for traditional Thanksgiving ingredients in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving? It is hilarious!
I figured Walmart would be my safest bet and thank sweet baby Jesus that Merida, Mexico, has a plethora of Walmarts to choose from.
I walked up and down the Walmart aisles like a crazed maniac trying to find various ingredients like cheddar cheese, bread crumbs, flour, an uncooked turkey, etc…
Figuring out what to do about the turkey took up much of my energy, but after looking up online that I could defrost by putting it in cold water and changing it every thirty minutes, I decided it was time to hurry up and get home and start the process.
Needless to say, the remainder of my day was spent defrosting the turkey.
Thanksgiving Day In Mexico
The sun woke me early on Thanksgiving day. Immediately, I am filled with gratitude. I have a home, a bed, loving friends, healthy kids, and sunshine.
I thought I would be stressed, just as I was most during holidays back in the U.S., but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am at ease. I took my time getting out of bed. My three-year-old wakes with a bit more oomph than her momma, eager to get downstairs and play with her friend.
One of the best things about living in a single mom co-living house is having endless playmates for my toddler.
I relaxed on the couch chatting with my roommates as our kids played in front of us peacefully. Gratitude!
The day is slow. I find myself excited and a lot less nervous than the day before when my mind was playing tricks on me like it loves to do. Anyone else’s mind do that or is it just mine?
A sense of ease filled the SMDT House.
Pretty soon the macaroni was cooked, the turkey was ready, and the dinner tables were decorated and ready to greet guests.
By 3 pm people started showing up. Family after family rolled in, and I watched as the SMDT House filled up with so many beautiful and loving souls.
There was a moment when I took it all in.
I love and I am loved here in Merida, Mexico. I am not in my home country, but I am surrounded by family. We aren’t blood, but our bonds are stronger than any genetics or geographical location could ever tie us. This is real. This is what I have searched for my whole life.
The day was beautiful. We laughed. We ate. We played cards, and we drank an unhealthy amount of tequila.
Everyone left feeling good and thankful for this Thanksgiving abroad in the Single Moms DO Travel House.