Another American exchange student and I were placed in the same town in Spain in the early 90’s during a year exchange program. At this point–about three months into the year–our friendship was tentative.
But on Thanksgiving, we were united. Compatriots. Two Americans missing Thanksgiving together.
It was a regular November Thursday of no major consequence in Spain. We shared glum looks in the school halls. During class breaks, we grumbled about how at home everyone was preparing to feast on turkey and a million dishes with family gathered around the table. Stuffing, pies, potatoes, gravy.
At the end of the school day we hugged and wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving. I looked forward to calling home and hearing my family gathered.
“The turkey was delicious and moist. Your mom did a great job. We sure missed you!” One aunt declared, before passing the phone to the next cousin waiting in line. The cozy smells of turkey and pies wafted around my memory. I wiped a tear and wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving.
I accompanied my host mom to the bar across the street and enjoyed a strong espresso, toasting to American Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving! Have you ever spent your holidays out of the country? Or just out of your element? Though it may be a disappointment at the time, it makes coming home so much more cherished.
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