It is almost the end of November, and I think we are all feeling the pace of things pick up as we head into the Holiday Season. You have got work, exams; everyone is trying to meet up; there seem to be endless deadlines and of course there is today, Thanksgiving Day!
There was hype all around the Universities at Shady Grove Campus all week for this day. People were busy making plans; people were talking about the food, and most of all everyone was just excited that school was going to be closed. I’ll be honest: I’m a Guyanese based in Maryland USA, and although I have lived here for five years, the concept of Thanksgiving is still foreign to me. Don’t get me wrong; boy oh boy am I excited for Thanksgiving, it is just that I do not fully understand why people celebrate it. I know the name sounds pretty obvious, but Christmas and Easter are easier to comprehend.
On the other side of the Atlantic, we know the basic story that it is the most magical time of year where families come together to fight one another. This is based on what we see on television in shows such as Addams Family Values, where Wednesday creates quite a hiccup during the re-enactment of the first Thanksgiving. The holiday is less promoted outside the USA, so most international students like me know about the existence of it, but do not fully understand its roots. However, over the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving Day with families that have helped me understand everything I always wanted to know about the holiday but felt too embarrassed to ask. And like this article on NPR describes how a foreign student came to love Thanksgiving, my story is similar. What today was and what it is now, are two separate things, like most holidays. Today, the traditions built up around Thanksgiving define it more than the past. Today, Thanksgiving refers to the act of giving thanks to someone or something. It is football, shopping deals, and parades.
Today forces me to confront that I am a long way from the motherland. However, I suppose it does not have to be like that; I can distract myself from such weighty thoughts and focus on my new favorite Thanksgiving tradition. The big tradition of asking and answering the question “ What are you thankful for” and although I got a head start on this as my friends and I went around the table at the bar on Tuesday evening doing this, I did not get to say all that I wanted to say. Today I will be taking the time out of my busy schedule to give thanks, for many things like fellow blogger Christine highlights in her post here; to take a step back and enjoy the moment.
So to you my dear readers I say Happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful regardless of where you are from, for all that you have in life, your family, the chance to be at one of the colleges at the Universities at Shady Grove, and if nothing else for the parades, football games, and Black Friday deals. Be safe over the holiday and until next time, thank YOU for reading!