Acción de Gracias: A Holiday Abroad

30 Nov

Hola amigos, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I’ve actually been quite busy here, cramming in as much as I can before vacation so that when I return all I have to do is crank out one last term paper and focus on my finals.  Other than that, I spent two days in Valencia—which was awesome—and I was able to finally make it to a futbol game.  However, the recent holiday made me think about so many things.  It’s a tough place to be in when you crave what you miss, yet don’t want to let go of what you have.

I’m guessing I usually spend my Thanksgiving the way most Americans do: football, family, and a never-ending amount of delicious food.  This year was quite different.  Just for the record, for the first time ever I had class on Thanksgiving, which felt really strange for all of us, to say the least.  Our director in our program was incredibly nice, however, and cancelled all afternoon classes.  For the win 🙂  They also gave us a very beautiful and classy “Thanksgiving Dinner” at the Real Club de Regatas, complete with a beautiful ocean view and lots of wine.  The food of course didn’t taste 100% like the traditional stuff, but it was extremely close and delicious nevertheless.  However, on a side note, I will state that we all learned that Spaniards have no clue how to carve a turkey.  That was the ongoing inside joke, anyway.

So, now for the serious(ly) sappy stuff.  I honestly have never felt more blessed and thankful this year than I have at any other time in my life.  While Thanksgiving was approaching, it didn’t even seem real, something sort of like Christmas Day at 100 degrees (if you are from a place that usually has snow).  Everyone at home was so excited about visiting their families, vacation, and food comas.  It was strange to think I wouldn’t be participating this year, but then I realized it gave me a lot of time to reflect on important things.  Because I have spent this holiday away from family and home, I have been forced to realize all that I should be thankful for, and I appreciate everything so much more now because of it.  I am in Spain, studying abroad.  I have made all sorts of new friends, including Americans, Spaniards, Italians, and more.  I have been given the opportunity to view the world in ways that most people will never experience.  This has given me the chance to become more independent, self sufficient, confident, and even learn a little more about myself.  I look back at everyone who is at home, the people who I have missed this holiday with, and I can almost say I’ve never felt closer to them.  Being away has made me realize how much I love my family and friends, and when I return home I for sure will be careful not to take their time for granted.   Time apart has definitely made these kinds of relationships stronger and I appreciate the people in my life even more.   As cheesy as it sounds, I hope you had a lot to be thankful for this year (and always!).

Well, this is yet again coming to a close.  I won’t be writing for a little while because I will be on vacation: Milan, Italy and then London!   I’ll be sure to share my adventures with you when I return 🙂


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