Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Indiana Daily Student


A Thanksgiving abroad

CANTERBURY, England - It’s easy to imagine the type of questions one would encounter during the first few weeks of living in a foreign country. But there was one question I wasn’t expecting to come from my international roommates and friends with such genuine curiosity and interest.

“What about Thanksgiving?” they asked me, during tea time in the second week of the term. “Isn’t it a big deal for you Americans?”

This immediately sparked an onslaught of questions by the other foreign students in the room – yea, what do you do? What’s it like? What’s the point of the holiday anyway?

It was difficult for me to answer the question without at least a little bit of sarcasm.
“Yea, it’s like most American holidays, you know. You get the family together, you eat a lot, you fight and you watch football, I guess.”

After a more polite explanation of the holiday’s origins, customary cuisine and personal family traditions, I realized that maybe I would miss Thanksgiving a bit this year. After all, there’s nothing like your mom’s cooking and a few days of relaxation to take the edge off of the end of the semester mania.

Still, to most of us who have celebrated the holiday, it doesn’t really seem all that special. Our roommates and friends from France, Germany, Switzerland and England, however, were extremely excited about it. They have insisted, from that day on, that we all celebrate Thanksgiving together and have asked me about it at least once a week.

“When is Thanksgiving again? Oh it’s not until the 26th? I’m hungry,” they’ll say.

Or, more recently, “What else are we going to do? Do we get to talk about what we’re thankful for? Are there decorations?”

Of course, it’s not that they’re genuinely fascinated by the holiday itself. I’m sure that most of the interest stems from an attempt to make me, their American friend, feel more at home while I’m here.

So, while many American students on campus will celebrate Thanksgiving, my American neighbor and I will prepare a traditional Thanksgiving feast for our housemates and attempt to recreate the spirit of Thanksgiving in our small, student
kitchens here in England.

While I can’t reflect on the experience yet, thinking about it has made me appreciate the holiday more. There’s something really nice about the idea of a day set aside for the giving of thanks, spending time with family and friends and enjoying a good, home-cooked meal.

Get stories like this in your inbox