Celebrating Thanksgiving Away From Home

Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday. Sure, I love spending time with my family and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, but it pales in comparison to Christmas, and maybe even Easter. And I'm not exactly a fan of the food either. Of course, there's lots of it, but it never seems fresh and tasty to me- no matter who cooks it. Let me have my girl Zooey Deschanel elaborate a bit:

I know what you're thinking: "Enough with the Thanksgiving hating already! How un-American of you." But let me tell you- being away from home for Thanksgiving for the first time makes one especially patriotic and, I'll admit, extremely homesick. 

Getting out of bed on Thanksgiving morning just felt like another day to me. I didn't awaken to the smell of buttermilk pancakes and the sound of sizzling bacon. I didn't run downstairs eager to watch the start of the parade. I didn't eat an entire turkey-shaped chocolate at nine in the morning.

All it was was the last Thursday of the month. 

Not many people wished me a "Happy Thanksgiving!" In fact, most people were completely unaware of it- I blame myself for forgetting that the world doesn't actually revolve around the US. And I felt the constant need to remind practically everyone I saw that it was, indeed, a holiday.  

As the day went on, I felt more and more defeated. The snapchat stories from my home-friends came pouring in. My brothers sent me photos and videos of them having dinner at my grandparents house. 

The FOMO was real. And boy, did it come on strong.

Not only was I not at home for Thanksgiving, but I was in a place that hardly even acknowledged the biggest non-religious holiday that my home-country celebrates. 

People here in the UK, however, are fascinated by Thanksgiving whenever I mention it. They would ask if it's a bigger holiday than Christmas, to which I replied "No, not in my family. But to Jewish people, yes." They would ask what Thanksgiving celebrated, to which I gave a garbled response of "Native Americans... Pilgrims... America?... Football...Food. Definitely food."

But being away from home has made me realize that Thanksgiving celebrates a lot more than America's contested history and our deep passion for eating. Thanksgiving is simply about celebrating the time you get to spend with those you care about, even if those you care about most aren't with you at the time. I know that sounds ridiculously cheesy, but once I came to terms with the fact that Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without my family, I found other ways to celebrate being around good people. 

On Wednesday, my running club (the Haries) had a Christmas meal (funnily enough, at an "American" restaurant) to celebrate the end of the semester. On Thursday, I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner at the home of the only family I know in Edinburgh. And on Friday, I attended the Edinburgh University North American Society's Charity Thanksgiving Ball with my friend from high school, a friend of hers, and a friend from halls. 

I cannot even express how incredibly thankful I am for the fact that although I was approximately 3,075 miles away from my family, I was still able to celebrate a truly American holiday surrounded by many of my friends (American or not). And while I may continue to think that turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes aren't exactly the most exciting and delicious foods, this year, I've realized that Thanksgiving means a lot more to me than I had originally thought. 

P.S. Here are some photos from the ball for you all to enjoy! 

I'm so fancy. 

Wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a few crafts.

A solid Thanksgiving dinner. 

This kettlecorn may have been the highlight of the night.

Drawing our own hand-turkeys. We didn't win...

The table setting was just too pretty (and totally matched my purse). 


1 comment:

  1. The place you choose for party is really amazing. I am also looking for a place like this for my next event planning. It will be a small get to-gather with few high school friends.


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