Sometimes I think my family is a little bit strange. See in the family I grew up in, we have a very loose definition of family. Yeah, there's the people we share the same DNA with, but then there's our other family. I've mentioned before that I have two sisters. Well, I now have three. With only one of those do I share a set of genetics . The other two are people that have become family, that we share a common faith and a deep love. My mom just keeps adopting people.
My parents have an open heart and an open home. They are more than willing to take in and feed people. So far we've only had two people stay with us, but many more have been welcomed in for meals, especially for special holiday dinners. It used to be that we did the proper extended family gatherings, now we just invite those in our lives who don't have family around. This year we shared Thanksgiving dinner with two Russian families(Russian/Israeli and Russian/Bahamian to be precise). The meal was excellent as was the company.
Apparently, welcoming others into what is traditionally family time is contagious. For Thanksgiving dinner with Steve's parents, they invited not just us but several Asian students they are connecting with. How they all met and became connection is a crazy beautiful story. Someone brought someone else to a gathering and they invited them to something else and it just kept going. One of the students sharing dinner with us met my in-laws(and us) for the first time that day. There were various levels of proficiency with the English language and varying lengths of time in Canada. I'm not sure what the longest duration was, but one lady has only been here for a month. Her husband had only been here for a week when we met him. Although I was still trying to get acquainted with everyone, that dinner was also a great time of building friendships and filling my stomach.
It's hard to put words to what is in my heart. There has been too much, both good and bad this weekend. My sister came home to surprise my parents and we had a good visit with her. The Oktoberfest parade was the best I've ever attended. I can't decide whether I liked the fire juggler, the whip dancers, or the African band best. We've had a surfeit of delicious food and some great weather this weekend. But I've also battled some significant darkness this weekend. I don't know why but I'm wrestling with some deep questions right now. *sigh* What I do know is that these shared meals made me happy. Building new relationships especially across a language barrier are hard. Welcoming newcomers and sharing meals with those whose family is far away is more than worth it.
However you celebrated, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! :)