The air is crisp and the orange, yellow, and brown leaves are beginning to fall. Manchester is wrapped in the cool autumn air. One of my favorite things during this season is stuffing my face with my mom’s walnut pumpkin bread. Being away from home, I really miss my mom’s homemade food. I thought it would be a fun idea to make some pumpkin bread and share it with my host nuns and friends I have made in Manchester. After my mom sent me her recipe, I began my hunt for pumpkin purée, but came out empty handed. I asked my host nuns if they knew where I could buy some, but they were puzzled by what pumpkin purée even was. I checked out four stores, still no luck. One Sunday, I was talking to a member of the congregation about my pumpkin purée hunt and if it was even available in the United Kingdom. They had no idea, but said they would keep an eye out for it and ask around. Apparently, pumpkin flavored food is not popular in England. A few weeks go by, I thought my pumpkin purée hunt was over and unsuccessful. I begin to accept the fact that I would just have to wait a whole year before getting to stuff my face with warm pumpkin bread.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Before church began, a member of the congregation came up to me and handed me a heavy bag. I looked at him with confusion. With a wide grin on his face, he told me to open it. I peeked inside…not only was there a can of pumpkin purée, but he gave me five cans! Joy and thankfulness washed over me and I began to cry. I never thought I would cry over pumpkin purée, but I did. When this member of the congregation found out I was trying to find pumpkin purée, he searched all over Manchester. He went way out of his way to help comfort a girl who is many, many, miles away from home. It was not just the cans of pumpkin purée that filled me with happiness, but the act of kindness from this man. (This man will receive the biggest pumpkin pie!)
Each day, I break homemade bread with the nuns. We not only share a meal, but we share stories and conversation. This week, I got to break homemade pumpkin bread with the nuns. I got to share this bread with the people who have shared so much with me.