A couple of weeks ago, America celebrated the famous tradition that is Thanksgiving. This is not a holiday that is celebrated in the UK so I was excited to see what it was like and how different it was from the Christmas holidays. To me, it seemed like they both had turkey, family and friends so I didn’t see how it was so different (oh how I was wrong!). My friend, Cara, invited me and my roommate to her house in Delmar (near Albany) and we spent the week being looked after by her parents, meeting her family and friends and enjoying incredible food.
Before going to Cara’s house I had been given one piece of advice: Be ready to eat. And boy did we eat! For the entire time I was staying there, the house was filled with amazing smells, it made me really want to get out of bed in the morning so I could go downstairs and help out with the cooking and just breathe in the homemade goodness. For thanksgiving dinner we had this humongous Turkey, loads of different vegetables, gravy, etc. Pretty much what you would see at a Christmas dinner, except for one addition by Cara’s cousin: mac and cheese. Um? At first I thought it seemed a little out of place but oh my gosh it’s exactly what’s been missing from my Christmas dinners all these years.
I learnt that Thanksgiving has its traditions, much like Christmas, but what seemed to be the most important one was seeing family and friends. I’d seen films before where people would sit around the dinner table and say what they are thankful for and the family I was staying with didn’t do that but it seemed like being thankful was more of an unspoken thing. One thing I was most definitely thankful for was how welcoming Cara and her family were. Most people got to see their family and friends over thanksgiving and although I didn’t see my own family, it felt like I had because I felt so at home there which is something I didn’t expect and am really grateful for.
It snowed over Thanksgiving! In the UK we don’t get a lot of snow so I was flipping excited when I saw the white stuff falling from the sky, much to the amusement of the Americans who are more than used to getting tons of snow every year on the East Coast. We took Cara’s puppy out in the woods and wandered around the neighbourhood. I’m a clumsy person at the best of times, add snow to the mix and it was never going to end well. We were climbing over a massive fallen tree and I was trying to hold onto her puppy at the same time, whilst attempting to clamber over. Unintentionally adding some drama to the day, I slipped, something snapped, and I ended up face down in the snow. But I did manage to stop the puppy running off! So some success?? I had a shocker of a bruise on my arm for a week and a half to remind me of my less-than-elegant adventures.
We did a whole bunch of other things too including going to Cara’s uncle’s house and meeting their family. After, we went to a sports bar, drank beer and played darts. I’ve never been to a bar in snow boots before so that was a first! Another night, we went to their family friends’ house for pizza night and what they said was true, it was hands-down the best pizza I’ve ever had. We hung out in the basement and they had a pool table, darts board, air hockey, table tennis, and other things like that. Basements are a strange concept to me, again something I’d only seen in films so that was cool.
One night after we got home from the bar, we all got into our bikinis and bathing suits and went in the hot tub outside in the garden. Running through the snow made the reward of getting into the hot tub even better. We did snow dares and I ran down to the garden in my bathing suit and did a snow angel. It was freeeezing! I lasted a couple of seconds before screaming and sprinting back to hot tub, ha!
To top off the festivities, we went to pick out a Christmas tree. I wish I could somehow capture the smell and put it on here for you all to smell. There were so many Christmas trees and pretty decorations, I was in heaven. We loaded it in the car, went home and decorated it. Apparently this was the first time they’ve decorated the tree without having to get a step-ladder because I could just about manage to stretch and reach the top – pro’s of being tall I guess!
Overall, I had an amazing week and I will be forever grateful to Cara and her family for making me feel so welcome. Who knows, next year I may even try to bring the Thanksgiving tradition back to the UK with me.