Thursday was Thanksgiving in the United States, better known as Acción de Gracias here in Spain. It was like an other ordinary day here, but I felt as though something was different. I felt as though I was missing out on something. My life had forever changed the moment I had stepped off that plane. The first year without my family back home and it hasn’t been easy. Nevertheless, they’ve been there every step of the way.
The holidays are my favorite time of the year. There’s always a big group of us taking over someone’s house for the day. We have enough food to feed the neighborhood for the month. It’s never a dull moment and I am thankful for that. Thankful for the moments where you’re laughing so hard you’re crying. Everyone tells stories and yes they may be the same ones that have been told forever, but those are the best kinds. They seem to get better and better every time they’re told.
Every year people ask me what I’m thankful for and I generally say the same thing. But this year is a bit different. I’ve appreciated a lot of things in my life regardless of how long it takes me to realize it. I have been away now for almost 100 days. Being here really has made me appreciate the most simplest things that you couldn’t even imagine. I am grateful for my host family and the warmth and kindness they have offered to me since the moment I met them. It has made my journey much more enjoyable.
My directors took a small group of us out for Thanksgiving dinner. All day we were contemplating, “There’s no way they could do that.” or “Do they even know what stuffing is?” So many questions ran through our minds. We all dressed up and went to a restaurant called El Patio. I loved the setup and the decor. To our surprise we really had a Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie with marshmallow on top, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, green beans. You name it, we had it.
I was fortunate enough to sit next to some really incredible people. As the night continued, I began to realize that yes I did miss my family back home and yes it was a bit difficult, but my friends and I had formed a special bond with one another and it did feel like family. We laughed so hard we cried, we stuffed our faces, we enjoyed each other’s company. We did all the things that I would have done back home. After all of that I was quite content. Even better, I did get to speak with all of my family. It turned out to be a very successful day. Thank you to all who made it memorable. To my family near and far, I love you.