Now, everyone knows Thanksgiving. If you are American, this holiday most likely means a lot more to you than it does to me as you’ve probably celebrated it with your family, every year that you can remember. If, like me, you come from another place, you might see this day as just another American holiday where people happen to ride, drive or fly back home and eat endless ounces of turkey. The good thing is that here at CU-Boulder, we get a full week off to enjoy some semester break and every year is a different experience for me.
My first college year’s Thanksgiving was an interesting turn of events. Well, my first roommate and I decided that it was best to move apart from each other. Thus, I left my first dorm and met a new roommate for what became a new friendship. I gained new perspectives the week right before Thanksgiving. Since, for some reason my new (American) roommate was not going back home, we basically spent the whole following week giving our miserably insipid and uninspired room a makeover. We spent hours of designing, driving back and forth to places such as IKEA and Home Depot, moving, cutting and building furniture (in the empty dorm common rooms), bleeding, laughing and so forth. It made for one of the most amazing bonding experiences I’ve ever had.
I have been very lucky with the many encounters I made at CU-Boulder. Indeed, even after I changed my major, I was lucky to sit in class next to one of my now best friends here in Boulder. The story of how we met, though, is not as exciting as that time I spent Thanksgiving at his family house after they had so generously invited me. That was my first real Thanksgiving experience and I could not have wished for more. My temporary inclusion in my dear friend’s Filipino American family was the most genuine ever. I had so much fun interacting with new people from different ages in such a culturally mixed and fascinating environment. The homecooked food was an absolute feast. The family members were all funny and welcoming. Fun games kept everybody entertained at all times. The house was just pouring with joy, happiness and family spirit. I will never forget this chance and opportunity. Thank you, my friend!
After all, it is a time of year for giving and being grateful and I believe that the people you choose to surround yourself with really represent a sort of temporary family. As an international student, at least, I get to make up the family I want to share this day with. Besides, at the end of the end, we all have something to be thankful for. So let us use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to open up and grow together as a family.