This was the one event I had been looking forward to all semester, a chance to experience Thanksgiving with an American family. I met Vicki last year when she came to the UK on an exchange program. As soon as I found out I was going to Bowling Green I pretty much harassed her with all kinds of questions. In a polite way, of course. Luckily she’s nice and understanding and didn’t think I was a stalker. Ever since then we’ve had many a conversation about the weird and wonderful things both in England and the US.
Like I said, she’s pretty nice and invited me to spend Thanksgiving at her home with her family in Cleveland. We packed up the car and headed on over, only to be welcomed with open arms and the tea kettle going on the stove. Perfect. That cup of tea was the best I’d had all semester.
It was lovely to be in a house rather than a dorm room. Especially one that was as warm and cosy as Vicki’s. We got up to all kinds over the break from the art museum to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, line dancing (or attempting to) in possibly the most American bar I’ve ever seen, Thirsty Cowboys and watching the Cleveland Christmas tree lighting.
But lets get to the main event, that Thanksgiving dinner I’d heard so much about…
Every year on the morning of Thanksgiving Vicki and her family meet up and go for a hike after breakfast, coffee and donuts. It had snowed overnight which to me was perfect. I think it’s so nice when families have traditions like this; it brings everyone together. Vicki’s family is huge, with lots of little cousins who all tried to copy my accent and asked me to teach them how to do it. Adorable. They loved saying “Allo!” like something out of Mary Poppins and liked to talk about tea and crumpets ha! I tested out my American accent as usual. It was pretty bad.
Like millions, I’m a huge FRIENDS fan. In fact I drive a lot of people crazy when I quote entire scenes. But this was necessary! After the hike all of the little kids play a football game (American Football that is ) against Vicki, her teenage brother and cousin. So imagine 3 versus about 20 kids from about age 5 -12! So you know in that FRIENDS Thanksgiving episode (The One with the Football) where they all play a game in the park and Monica and Ross get super competitive over the trophy troll doll?! Well this is what Vicki’s family do! I was so excited! I didn’t play because well… I’d be a hazard. But it was so much fun watching them.
I promise I’m getting to the dinner. After trudging back in I took a shower and a nap before people started to arrive. Before I knew it the table was set and the smell of the turkey was all around. It felt a little strange since that usually reminds me of Christmas. We ate the traditional turkey and stuffing with cranberries, corn, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy. De-licious. I was just so excited to be there. We played catchphrase which had us all in stitches, the old classics are always the best. I don’t think I had ever laughed so much at a game before.
After pumpkin pie, tea and storytelling we were all wiped out. I had such an amazing time and couldn’t have wished for a better experience. What was I thankful for? Simply being in the US and having the opportunity to spend the holiday with such a warm family. I only wish I could have had my friends and family there to see it all with me. But we can’t have it all eh!
I didn’t go Black Friday shopping myself but I did go downtown that day and see some of the craziness. I usually work Boxing Day in the UK which is just as bad, so I was happy enough to stay out of that thank you.
To anyone planning on studying abroad in the US, I promise you Thanksgiving is as special as it sounds. You should definitely try to spend it with an American family, you will have invites galore! At least in my experience, American’s love nothing more than sharing the holidays with others and will be happy to take you in for a couple of days. Everyone is just so friendly!!!
Once again, I’m so grateful to be here, living this out. I loved Thanksgiving so much I want to do it again next year and every year after that. I mean who wouldn’t want another Turkey day?!