Thanksgiving is an American holiday that has been referenced so much in American folklore that even before I set foot on American soil I had a vague idea about what the holiday was: giving thanks for the things we have.
And something to do with pilgrims.
This year students had a week off (a happy surprise – the usual length is 3 days apparently). So, me and a few friends made the most of this break from University, and took a trip to Boston and New York for the week. This was the first proper “travelling” I had done since coming here, so I was really looking forward to it. We spent the actual Thanksgiving in Boston, and started off by trapesing round a beautifully autumnal Harvard. We pretended we were smart enough to go there, and rubbed the lucky foot of John Harvard (all I’m saying is that I better get that First now).
At first we thought, alas, we’re not going to be able to experience the traditional Thanksgiving meal everyone raves about. However, HI Boston, the hostel we were staying in, were our saviour, putting on a free Thanksgiving meal for all its guests. However, it wasn’t as straight forward as we thought it would be. Due to limited cooking facilities, the hostel staff ordered the meal from some unknown place and the delivery was late; seriously late (our poor stomachs couldn’t take it). It came though, eventually and still piping hot. We had turkey, stuffing, mixed veggies, cornbread, mashed potatoes, gravy, and two types of pie – pumpkin and apple, depending on your preference. Sadly mine was neither; I’m more of a chocolate girl. Despite the lack of appealing dessert for me, the meal was great. It was also the first proper roast dinner I have had since getting here 3 months ago, and I savoured every bite. Also, I think I now love cornbread. Once finished we headed back to a room and promptly fell into a food coma (arguably the best type of coma) for several hours.
Once refreshed we headed out for the evening to view the Holocaust Memorial. Walking under the six pillars commemorating the six million Jewish men, women, and children who died was a poignant and sobering experience. Visiting the memorial on Thanksgiving made us especially aware of what we had to be thankful for, and it is an experience I will never forget.
All in all, my first Thanksgiving experience was a memorable one, and after I leave I hope to come back for many more.
Written by Isabelle Currie – University of Massachusetts, USA