Filling Up on More Than Food at Our First Filipino Thanksgiving

“I can’t help it! There’s a special hole that opens in my stomach whenever I’m traveling! Or at a buffet! And this was a double-whammy!”

Curtis Johnson

We had only been married a few months, and already we were on our second international adventure. For that Thanksgiving we stood at a Filipino feasting buffet in Manila. And while there was no turkey, there was every other kind of meat imaginable along with all kinds of sides I’d never tasted til’ that night. I ate three plates of food.

Curtis ate seven.

And by seven I mean, Curtis had seven full plates not only stretching to the edges of his dish, but stretching to heights that tested the laws of gravity.

And then four plates of dessert.

And somehow by miraculous metabolistic powers unknown, the waistband of his pants was never tested.

The people in the Philippines loved Curtis.

Everyone loves Curtis. His big smile matches his even bigger heart.

And, his big heart almost matches his even bigger stomach capacity.

And the man will eat anything.

Everyone at our table, Filipino, Indonesian, and American stared in wonder as my tall skinny African American husband kept relay racing back and forth between table and buffet. Eventually everyone was a few plates in and full, and simply left to watch him as if we were spectators at a professional sporting event.

“I can’t help it! There’s a special hole that opens in my stomach whenever I’m traveling! Or at a buffet! And this was a double-whammy!”

This made everyone laugh, yet still fail to comprehend the complexities of Curtis’ metabolism. Curtis’ passionate love of food inspired others to lean in and ask him questions first about how many calories he normally consumes, and then eventually about his family, and ultimately his life story. Food has a way of creating these kinds of conversations and memories.

This thanksgiving I invite you to lean in to the stories of others around you, no matter how many plates you can finish, and no matter the mosaic of people at the table. I hope a hole opens both in your stomach, for the sake of the calories being consumed, as well as in your heart to fill up on the relationships you don’t always get to cultivate throughout the year.

My Mosaic

It’s Thanksgiving! So if you took time to read this ON Thanksgiving, then…Thanks!

But go!

Take advantage of the time and season, because most other times of the year are filled with rushed meals and busy calendars. This is one day that you can have anywhere from 3-7 plates of food, plus dessert, and quality time hearing and sharing stories with the people you love. So, take advantage of the time. Appreciate how everyone’s stories are mosaicly brought together around one big thanksgiving table.

Get your fill of food, as well as your fill of the time spent with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving and See You Next Week.

And if you read this after Thanksgiving: Plan more time to sit with people over food. Lean in. Keep story-telling. Keep being thankful. The mosaic of your life is bigger than just your story. Keep inviting people to your table. The pieces of your mosaic will always be more vibrantly glorious when we take the time to share life with others.

Happy Eating, RJ

2 thoughts on “Filling Up on More Than Food at Our First Filipino Thanksgiving

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