My first thanksgiving- Written by Rihan Zoubairi

Authored by:
Oumaima Farik

                                                                                                                                           November, thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                         A day of celebration, a lifetime of gratefulness.

It was a Thursday, and the morning had started with the clouds giving off their waters to the trees, the grass, the world and us. I woke up excited and happy, on my tiptoes I reached up to the bedroom's window, thrilled to see the rain washed streets and the people rushing under their colorful umbrellas. I was excited because it was Thanksgiving, and more specifically my first Thanksgiving ever. The CIEE family had decided to celebrate with all its members at Rabat's office.  A potluck dinner that made most of us pull out our crock-pots and pans, dust off our best festive-themed recipes, show off our talents as potential chefs and indulge in a lot of food.

At around 5 pm, the kitchen was the center of rich smells and savory aromas, promising an immensely delightful taste. I walk into the kitchen, and see that everyone is clustered around the countertop: Tyler, making Spinach Casserole; David, making Latkes (which are some very tasty Potato Pancakes), and everyone getting the table ready for dinner and sharing the food they made with each other. Just being there felt like being home in an honest and natural way.

Once the table set, each and every one of us went around the room and said what we were thankful for. It was a moment of pure bliss and honesty where we all allowed ourselves to be human and share in the most beautiful way our feelings and thoughts, about family, friends, loved ones, places and memories that define us. A very emotional moment, because opening up to each other strengthened the feeling of belonging and similarity that unites us, despite all the differences that make us unique and beautiful in all sorts of ways. Undressing layers and layers of preconceived ideas and finally finding each other all real, all devoid of colors and shapes that weren't true.

I found myself thinking about how lucky and thankful I felt for belonging to such a beautiful group of people, sharing and caring about each other. The moments we've had together, even though brief were magical moments that I will forever cherish, new friendships and a second family that I will always love and hope to keep for a very very long time. And I could only hope that we will all carry them in our hearts, keep inspiring each other and look forward to creating more.

After all the sharing and Tyler saying a beautiful prayer, everyone started eating and we were all thankful for the delicious food and the jolly atmosphere.

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