Thanksgiving was a hard time to be away from my family. I come from a family where holidays are a big deal. My roommates and I planned a Thanksgiving dinner and extended the invitation to all our local friends (and our proffessor) to come and partake in their first Thanksgiving. From the moment I woke up that morning, though, I felt it in the pit of my stomach. I was homesick-bad.
I wanted to start my apple pie, but realized I didn’t have a pie pan. So, I turned the oven on and started the bread for stuffing. I let my roommates know the oven was on and I was going to walmart. I got to walmart and started to pick up a few other things as well. Then I started the hunt for a pie pan. In the entire walmart, there was not one. I searched myself, I asked for help…nothing. I ended up buying a round cake pan, but as I walked out of the Walmart to call my uber, tears rolled down my face.
My Uber driver picked me up. He was taken aback by my current state and reached into his glove box where he produced a lollipop. He handed it to me and told me he hoped it helped. When he dropped me off, my building guard was also confused at the big tears rolling down my face. “I’m okay,” I told him as he helped me get my purchases loaded onto the elevator.
When I walked back into the kitchen my silent tears turned into ugly sobs. My roommate embraced me. “I want to go home.” I told her. But there was work to be done.
I got busy in the kitchen. There was stuffing to make, and turkey to be cooked, desserts to be crafted. As the kitchen began to smell delicious and I lost myself in my favorite hobby, the homesickness was a dull roar in the background. It only resurfaced shortly before dinner when my family facetimed me from their table where everyone said hello, but it was quickly put aside as I needed to set up and begin hosting.
Overall my apartment entertained eleven local friends. Each one was in awe at the presentation. They took photos which were found on their instagrams and snapchat stories. Everyone commented, “This is my first Thanksgiving.” When we sat around the table, we all said something we were thankful for in a mix of Spanish and English. The overarching theme was the same: new friends, new places, new experiences.
A silence fell over the crowd as everyone dug into their plates. It was only interrupted by a request for someone to pass something, more drink, and the affirmation that someone was enjoying their food. As hostess and cook, my heart was full. The evening went on. The wine and conversation flowed. Our house was full of the love and laughter that summed up my semester abroad.
I knew then that when I leave this place there will always be a piece of me homesick for here.
And I am thankful.