• Liz Lopez

Tacosgiving – the first and only official Taco Day of Thanks

Disclaimer: Although I'm just posting this, I do realize Thanksgiving was three holidays back. I've got a backlog of entries, but I've been enjoying life and Christmas break these days. Also side note, for those reading for information on the Welcome Stamp/life in Barbados, you may want to carry on, this post (and undoubtedly other future posts) is simply for me and other persons interested in my adventures (read: my parents... who already know all of this anyway).

Thanksgiving in America is my favorite holiday; it’s not just a day, it’s a whole weekend of celebration and festivity in the Jones/Lopez clan.

Wednesday night we bake pies (or watch Bobby bake them), Thursday we all crowd into my parent's kitchen to complete our assigned tasks (we usually get mashed potato duty), then feast in the afternoon, recover, and then spend the evening playing cards. Friday we eat leftovers and bake cookies, my dad makes homemade Chex mix, several other delicious snacks and desserts are created and then we play cards again (Lopez says my family needs rehab for games addiction). All of this while eating, drinking, and being merry. To wrap up the weekend celebration, we meet at the Christmas tree farm with Lopez’s family where we scour the farm seeking the perfect tree. Then the men cut them down and we head to our place to watch the Badgers and eat everyone’s homemade chili and drink and be merry, still, before Sunday’s recovery before work again.

This year, like everyone else, we had to shift gears and find a new way to celebrate Thanksgiving. My family is obsessed with Tacos. No one in my family is obsessed with turkey. Enter, Tacosgiving. Lopez originally proposed Tacosgiving a few weeks prior and I was hesitant because it seemed like a lot of work. Hosting at home is also a ton of work (and something we do quite often), but we don’t have everything here like we do a home that makes us excellent hosts. But in the end, he didn’t care. All he had to do was say Tacosgiving to Nicolaus and we had our first guests confirmed.

Thanks to Tacosgiving, I can happily report that we have a solid circle of friends here in Barbados and while it’s not the same as being with family at the holidays, they’re filling the void quite perfectly. Marie-Laure and Nicolaus are from Montreal and have the same exact reasons as us for coming here. You can find details of their trip here because they were featured in a story about the Barbados Welcome Stamp by their local paper. Their newfound fame led them to meet additional people here simply because they saw the article, found them online, and reached out to connect.

I met Nicolaus on the beach one of our first weekends here and of course, Penny saw Eli and had no choice but to play with her. Eli (short for Elizabeth, a lovely name) recently turned seven and we celebrated with her in October during her birthday pool party. At the party, we met Lili, whose son Jack happens to be in Penny’s class. Of course, they didn’t recognize each other, but they're buddies now and maybe they even talk in class. Lili is British but married a Bajan and while they started their life together in the UK, they moved back to sunny Barbados three years ago. Lili is in fact still waiting on her citizenship, despite marrying a Bajan and subsequently calling, emailing, and other failed attempts at communication, in order to become a citizen. Lili is always up for a good time and was one of the last people to help us shut down Tacosgiving.

We also had the pleasure of meeting her husband Troy and hosting her lovely parents, Joanna and Jack. As the oldest of the group, I hope my parents get here in time to meet them. They’d get along great and could trade stories about their insane daughters (both only children, go figure) and adorable grandkids that were so rudely stolen away from their hometowns.

In second place for shutting down the party was Molly and Paz, two of my favorite people who are basically famous. After COVID hit, their livelihood shut down, leaving them unable to entertain crowds around the world with amazing shows like this. Given their lack of little kids, and our ability to leave our little kids in the care of our teenagers, we’ve spent many an evening enjoying their company. They left Tacosgiving at 2, leaving just Jerry and Blossom with us to make it until 3.

Jerry and Blossom are our neighbors, two of the first people we met here in Barbados. Although it did take a bit of time for me to talk to them, I gave a solid head nod to Jerry the first few weeks here until finally, we met officially. Jerry spends most of his time walking around our neighborhood and shooting the shit with just about everyone; I swear he knows 90% of the island’s population. Blossom has been so helpful to me personally as I acclimated to life here and dealt with a few ‘misunderstandings’ with our landlord. Blossom owns her own juice company (I’ll be posting a link to her website when it’s up and running!) and she will be selling it at Massy’s in 2021! In all the years at home, we’ve never spent as much time with a neighbor as we do these two. Our kids show up at their doorstep several times a day to say hi to their little zoo crew, including the cats, Goldie and Socks, Bob the tortoise, and most recently, the baby tortoise they acquired as well.

There are plenty of other wonderful people we’ve met along the way who didn’t make Tacosgiving. There are a few families who live at Sapphire Condos at Dover Beach and of course, there’s Jennifer, my fellow WI girl. There are others we've met and spent time with, like the family from Atlanta that Lopez, Penny and Cal met at breakfast during one of my sleep-in Saturdays. My kid’s best friends are of course Eli and her sister Charlotte; Eli and Penny are two peas in a pod and Cal and Charlotte are engaged to be married. They aren’t yet aware of this but they will be someday and they’ll thank Marie-Laure and me for saving them the trouble of dating in their 20’s. Cal already said that when our time in Barbados is up, he’ll miss Charlotte most of all. The five kids, these four - plus Jack - have spent considerable time together and recently really started to enjoy playtime on their own, like nighttime tag after pool fun and general perfect kid raucous rousing.

When all is said and done, if you can’t celebrate as you normally would, make an ode to tacos, sit back, relax and let the games begin.