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An English Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is consistently one of my favorite times of the year. It comes at a very stressful time during the semester, so it’s always so nice to go home for a week, be spoiled by my parents, and eat comfort food. I completely forgot that the English don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (understandably so) and come September I realized that for the first time in my life I would be celebrating the holiday away from my family.

Initially, I was really nervous – truthfully more than I expected to be. My parents even offered to fly me home for the long weekend because my tutorials on Monday/Tuesday allowed me to do so without missing anything important. However, I declined their kind offer because I felt that a part of being abroad is to adapt to new, potentially uncomfortable situations. Being away from my family on a day that I have never been without them definitely fell into this category.

Before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving. I met up with my American friend and fellow visiting student for lunch and we talked about how weird it was that the day felt so normal. In honor of the holiday we both got turkey sandwiches and shared some sweet potato fries. After working on my essay for a few hours (because academics in England don’t stop for an American holiday), I went home to get ready for dinner. My college, St. Catherine’s, was hosting a champagne reception prior to a modified Thanksgiving version of formal hall for all American and Canadian students.

When I walked into the room with some of my visiting student friends, I was surprised at how at home I felt. I’m not sure if it was the surplus of American accents or the many familiar faces, but at that moment I realized while I may have been homesick for my family, I had made a home here. I talked to other Americans about their Thanksgiving traditions and as we walked into the college dining hall, I was excited to see an English take of an American tradition. The dinner was incredible. It was completely different than what I would have eaten at home, but it still tasted like Thanksgiving.

With a full stomach and a full heart, I went back to my room and I Facetimed with my mom. The time difference meant that while I laid on my bed in a food coma, she was running around the kitchen preparing our family’s normal dinner. I swear I could almost smell the pies cooking in the oven through my phone. While I wished I could be there, I was also very grateful to be where I was. It may not have been my childhood home, but I made my own home here. I was very thankful for my English Thanksgiving.


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