Thanksgiving as an “International Orphan”

Published: November 25, 2016

Like most international students, what I know about Thanksgiving I have learned from exported American pop-culture (…in my case that mainly means Friends and Gilmore Girls). There are several things about Thanksgiving that perplex me: is it really a holiday constructed around an aggressive and overgrown pigeon? What exactly is stuffing and WHERE DID YOU SAY YOU PUT IT?! Supposedly there is something about Pilgrim and Native American relations in there too but from what I learned in my US history class freshman year, they were not keen of one another. It’s atrocious to see that history is repeating itself with yet another example of exploitation of indigenous people…

But aside from the skewed history of Thanksgiving, this can be a difficult time of the year as an international student. Thanksgiving has become a holiday that celebrates family and being grateful of what you have. As many international students are at least an eight hour flight with tickets starting at a thousand USD, and our schools only give us two days of, going home to see your family is not really a feasible options. For many of us this means staying in the vacated dorms and enjoying a slice of store bought Turkey (maybe even from whole foods if you feel like splurging) while watching a thanksgiving special on Netflix which really isn’t helping with the loneliness… But sometimes we are lucky enough to have a friend take us under their (Turkey) wings and invite us to their homes for the holidays.

This year I had such luck and straight after class on Tuesday afternoon I zipped up to Stratton, Vermont to spend a few days up in the mountains. In the morning we put our snowshoes on and hiked halfway up the yet unopened mountain, a “cash out” to earn our meal later on in the evening which we referred to us our “gobble wobble.” After this, at around 2.30pm we packed the car full with a number of side dishes we had prepared to bring over to another family’s house where we would enjoy the actual feast (I even prepared a pecan pie all by myself, so get on my level). Many of my international friends, especially those of southern European origin, complain that Americans tend to eat dinner extremely early compared to our home countries. However all records are broken during this Holiday as the standard dinner time on Thanksgiving day is four o’clock in the afternoon (!!!). But once you get to the meal you understand why, because sampling each and every side dish and dessert is not only exhausting on your stomach, but also your mind as it requires lots and lots of planning, scheming and strategising to maximise your plate.

All in all I could not have asked for a better first thanksgiving experience everything from the food, to the company to the impalpable seasonal spirit in the air that was only validated when the snow started falling outside the window just as the sun set.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other posts by Filip Åsberg Montgomery

View all posts by Filip Åsberg Montgomery