It’s that time of the year again, where the weather starts getting colder, where finals are about to arrive, where students like me are waiting for the sales to show up. It is also the month of being “thankful”, where we come and eat together with friends and family, a time called Thanksgiving. What is Thanksgiving actually? Thanksgiving is a national holiday which is mainly celebrated in Canada and the United States. Originally it was celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest (gathering ripe crops from the fields) and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions. Nowadays the culture continues and gathers people together.
I had the honour to be invited at my friend’s place with his family. It was a classic American Thanksgiving experience. Eight siblings of his mom were present, together with their sons and daughters. Along with them were their children, so you can imagine that we were with more than 50 people in the house. I loved the experience of being within an American family to see what this day is about. What surprised me at first was that I had to be ready around noon to go to his parent’s place to start dinner at 4PM – 4 PM! I did not understand that concept at all. Back home [Rotterdam, the Netherlands] the earliest we have dinner is around 6 PM. Then, my friend explained to me that the food is so much that we need that time, and next to the food it is all about meeting the family or friends and having quality time with them. The dinner was great, full of the typical Thanksgiving dinner list, which is mashed potatoes, stuffing, of course the turkey and much more. After dinner we had a great choice of desserts. I kept some space in my stomach so I could enjoy every round.
I definitely recommend going to an American family during Thanksgiving or Christmas, since the experience itself is very nice. They are opening their doors and are perfect hosts so you don’t even have to wait for their invitation!
After this family dinner I went to another Thanksgiving event with my classmates from the International Legal Studies Program. That was an international version of Thanksgiving, where everyone made something from their own home country. You can imagine that after that day, I was more or less done with eating for some days.
Lastly, to answer the question I am asking you. I am thankful of being in the United States and experience this amazing time and sharing this with the international family I have here, at ISH and also at my University. I am thankful for the support of my parents, my family and friends back home and elsewhere around the world. I am thankful for myself, to listen to the voice within and taking risks to come to the US, to study, with all the traps and difficulties involved. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. : )
Let’s be thankful every day for being healthy, having a shelter and being happy. Let’s also try to share this thankfulness with others around us, since we do forget sometimes how thankful we actually should be.