This Thanksgiving was a day of firsts for me. It was the first time I spent Thanksgiving in another country but more importantly it was the first Thanksgiving I spent without my family. Instead, I went to a Thanksgiving dinner party for Filipino and foreign alumni of American schools. It was a fun occasion with a good friendly atmosphere. However, it seemed distant from many Thanksgiving traditions i.e. the food was meant to make you feel satisfied rather than so full to the point you almost pass out and it was a dinner with people I had never met prior. Nevertheless, it was a good time all around. It was a reminder that even though I’m thousands of miles away from America, the Philippines is not too distant culturally.
This Thanksgiving was also a reminder of how fortunate residents of Manila were that the typhoon missed the northern regions. Three weeks on, Typhoon Haiyan is still very much on the collective consciousness and nearly everyone to whom I spoke with is working to perform all necessary steps to rebuild this country. Whether it be providing goods or funds, spreading awareness, everyone wants to do their part. The effects of this storm are from over but the outreach by Filipinos and expatriates in the Philippines will not end anytime soon.
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Paul Fontelo '13