Monday, October 08, 2007

Bonding, binging, boxing

Canada's Thanksgiving Day falls on the second Monday of October. It is one holiday we immigrants learn to adopt and appreciate. It's a good tradition that brings family and friends together. And it's also a good time to be grateful for all of God's many blessings.

This year, we had a Thanksgiving party at a friend's house with our Life Group from church. Our Life Group is currently composed of 5 couples, all Filipino immigrants, that meet twice a month at different homes. We talk about our concerns, needs, answered prayers, frustrations, and whatever else anyone would like to open up to the group. We commit to keep confidences. The Life Group is meant to be a safe place. No gossiping!!

Although our group just started this fall, we are already becoming good friends. We are bonding. We are still in the getting-to-know-you and trust-building stages, but I can sense the potential of our group to become a place of mutual support.

We started the afternoon with our regular Bible study and fellowship. In keeping with the sermon series at our church, the topic was from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.

We started with some singing.

After the Bible study, we had a turkey dinner. Our gracious hosts prepared a humungous roast turkey and other sumptious dishes and desserts, and the guests brought their potluck too. It was binging time! More guests, with more food, trickled in.

Turkey and bibingka!

To cap the evening, we gathered in front of a big TV to watch the Super Featherweight title fight between the Philippines' Manny Pacquiao and Mexico's Marco Antonio Barrera. Fortunately, our hosts had HBO. By this time, our number had grown to around 30, including the children. Before the match started, we were all animatedly talking and laughing and kidding around. It was like a happy marketplace! You'd wonder how we could even hear one another.

Finally, the bout started with the usual introductions and the singing of the national anthems. We felt a sense of pride hearing Lupang Hinirang on international TV. It was sung beautifully. We felt like the Philippines had already won.

The fight lasted all of 12 rounds. That's 3 minutes each round with 1-minute breaks in between. There were exciting moments when we became very loud. I was among those who screamed the most. If you don't want to hurt your eardrums, don't sit beside me during a boxing match. I scream, I kick, I fling my arms... COME ON MANNYYYYY! TAPUSIN MO NAAAA!

Even though the game did not deliver the same level of excitement as Pacquiao's previous fights, we were still very pleased that he won. The Philippines would be going wild.

So that was our Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for so many things -- for my family, my friends, my native land, my adopted country, my church, my job, my health, my simple pleasures, my big challenges... For all of these things, God, thank you!!

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