A Thanksgiving Experience

Coming to the United States as an international student from Sweden, I got introduced to many new traditions and holidays. Some of these holidays are also celebrated in Sweden, for example Christmas and Easter, even if we might celebrate them a little differently. But, I also got to experience new and different traditions. One of the new traditions I got to experience was how to celebrate a “real” American Thanksgiving. The first time I celebrated it, I was 17 years old and didn’t think too much of it. Of course, I thought that it was nice to get some time off from school and have a delicious meal, but there wasn’t much more to it than that. But now, a couple of years older, living on my own, far away from my family, Thanksgiving has gotten a whole other meaning to it, and I absolutely love this holiday. To me, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with the family, a time to show them how thankful you are for having them, and a time to tell them how much you appreciate them.

Since my own family is in Sweden there was no question of where my boyfriend, Ryan, and me were going to spend Thanksgiving this year. His family lives in Connecticut so we packed our bags and flew up to the chilly but absolutely gorgeous little state in the North East. I have been there many times before and every time his parents welcome me with open arms, like I am one of their own. This makes me feel like I really am part of the family and that I belong there for this holiday. We stayed at their house and they served us like it was their job. On Thanksgiving Day we left for an early lunch at the Grandparents house and after that we went to the other Grandparents to have dinner. That way, we got to see the whole family on Thanksgiving Day, and that was our goal. Even if we had to spend some time driving around, it was well worth it as we got to see how our appearance made everybody feel happy.

If our appearance made everybody else happy it was nothing compared to how it made us feel. Both Ryan, and me were ecstatic that we were able to come home and be with the family on this day and we were determined to show them how thankful we were for having them. But, Thanksgiving is not a time where you show other people your appreciation by buying them gifts, like you do for Christmas, so instead we tried to simply make sure that we acted, and told, everybody how thankful we were for having them. There are lots of ways you can show people you appreciation. This Thanksgiving, for example, I said a Swedish prayer before dinner, even though I’m not very religious at all. But, Ryan’s grandfather was born in Sweden, and wished to hear some Swedish, so I thought it was a good opportunity to make him happy, and I was right. The only thing this old man wanted to talk about for the rest of the evening was my prayer. It was nice to see how something so simple could make someone so happy.

Making people happy and show them how thankful you are for having them is nice, but I feel that the most important thing is to tell people that are close to you how much you love and appreciate them. Acting and telling people that are close to you, how much you love them are something you should always do, but somehow it seems to be easy to treat the ones you love carelessly every now and then. Therefore it is nice to have at least one day when you really think about how you act and what you say. Thanksgiving, I think, is a great opportunity for doing just that. When I woke up this Thanksgiving morning, the first thing I did was turning around, looking straight into Ryan’s dark brown eyes, and whisper:

- “I love you”.

Celebrating Thanksgiving is, for me, all about being with the family, showing them emotions. As I mentioned earlier, this