So last week was Thanksgiving, my first without my family and my first not in America! It was strange to see all the facebook status of my peers talking about being home with their families for the holidays. Certainly only made me more homesick than I already am! ASE, my program, held a thanksgiving dinner prepared by the culinary students at Bath College. It wasn’t the best (not that ANYTHING could compare to my mother’s cooking anyway!), but it was as though it were a really delicious dining hall meal at school. It was nice to be surrounded by my program and my friends for this holiday. They’d even decorated! Although the banner said “HAPPY THNKSGIVING” and there was a Christmas tree…
And of course, a list of things I am thankful for, regardless of the time of the year:
- My parents, for providing me with this wonderful opportunity to live and study and experience abroad! And of course not only their acceptance, but their support, of all my passions and eccentricities.
- My mother, specifically, for encouraging me relentlessly to take the opportunity to study abroad, no matter how terrified I am. Also, my mother for showing me what it means to be strong, what it means to feel, and for being one of my best friends.
- My father, for being my best friend, for teaching me to not be embarrassed (no matter where he does his Urkel impression), for always making me laugh, and for always listening (even if I’m melodramatic).
- My brother, for always being willing to beat people up, even from hundreds of miles away, if they hurt his little sister! We don’t do the best job of keeping in touch, but I know how much we love each other. Can’t wait to see you for Christmas!
- All the rest of my family — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — the works! My grandparents for always being there, especially you Grandma Jean for making the phenomenal effort to keep in touch from different coasts for every single year of my life. I can’t even express how grateful I am for the close relationship we have. To all my aunts and uncles for giving me great summer/spring breaks visiting, and never skipping a beat to make me feel like family, no matter how much time has passed since I’ve last visited. And my cousins! Never knew I liked kids until I met you little rascals — and I can’t wait to meet my latest cousin, baby Hunter.
- My friends, who have made the effort to keep in touch (regardless of my terrible history of prompt responses — sorry LP and Jimi!) while I’m out of sight, but not out of mind! A special thanks to Joe who has been around this whole semester to help me work through the ups and downs of homesickness.
- I’m incredibly thankful for the monetary privilege of my class that has allowed me to even be able to be abroad, to receive a higher education, and have limited debt.
- I’m thankful for social justice activism and the way it has opened my eyes to the world I live in, and the world I want to shape as I live my life.
- And I’m thankful for homes, and I can’t wait to come back to Virginia.