Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It is usually a family-oreinted holiday in the United States, so it can be difficult day for exchange students (me included). Fortunately, I was so lucky to be able to share some of my traditions with my Host Family and friends in Germany and to experience the holiday in a way that will be forever stamped in my memory. In this post I thought I would share some of my favorite moments from yesterday and a few things I have to be grateful for.
First, during school my English class surprised me with a faux-thanksgiving meal. They drew a turkey on the white board at the front of the room and we enjoyed cake and cookies together while I shared a presentation I had made about Thanksgiving traditions. I truly have the most thoughtful and kind peers and teachers in Germany and I am grateful for them every day and was so touched that they pulled this all together for me!
Next, after returning from school, I baked my Mom's famous Thanksgiving Apple Pie to share with my host family. It was a success! We ate it after dinner with Whipped cream and powdered sugar. It was so rewarding to be able to share my culture and traditions with my Host Family, most of whom had never had a Thanksgiving dinner before. It was important to me to do this because my Host Family have been my guides from the very beginning, helping me navigate my German life and new surroundings and I wanted to show my grattitude by sharing with them some of my own unique traditions.
Speaking of dinner, my host family surprised me with a full meal cooked by my favorite local restaurant in town. We had french fries, chicken, carrots, potatoes, and pumpkin, just to name a few. Now these may not seem like all typical Thanksgiving foods but it was incredible to be able to integrate our cultures while learning from each other and appreciating our individuality. I am so grateful for my Host Family, they have been by my side, supporting me and helping me pave my way in Germany and they were so thoughtful and generous for organizing this meal on my behalf. They had known I had been feeling homesick in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, understood and went out of their way to make the day special for me.
Days like these put things into perspective, I see everything I have to be grateful for through a fresh lens. To be here in Germany, meeting amazing people, building strong relationships, trying new things, and learning every day, I am grateful. I am so thankful for CBYX, for my Host Family, for my friends, for my family supporting me at home in the US, and most importantly this opportunity that I have been given to see the world and experience first hand the beautiful blend of cultures that comes with exchange.