Even though Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here in Germany, I was well aware of the approaching date. The biggest reminder was when I FaceTimed my family, and my younger sister said that they were already on Thanksgiving break. This was my first Thanksgiving away from my family, and I didn’t know what to make of it or how to feel. As the date approached Thursday I was beginning to feel a little sad – a little empty.
However, my spirits went up immediately when one of my American friends decided to throw a “Friendsgiving” dinner. It was beyond exciting to pitch ideas on whose place should host the dinner, what to bring, if we should dress more formal, etc.
I was beyond excited because out of the approximately 15 people that attended the Friendsgiving dinner only three of us were Americans. The rest were from Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Australia. It was a great experience for me and I am positive it was a great first Thanksgiving experience for them.
Even though there wasn’t a turkey on the table, we were able to provide other traditional dishes for our international friends. The side that everyone loved was the sweet potato, and the dessert that mostly everyone was surprised and fascinated by was the sweet potato with melted marshmallow on top. Everyone brought food and there was much discussion of favorite dishes or why they decided to cook or bring what they brought.
Before everyone dug into the food, we decided to go around the table and have everyone share what they are thankful for. After everyone said what they wanted to say, the feast began. It was funny because a couple of us thought that there wasn’t going to be enough food, but it turns out that there was plenty. In the end two people ended up eating everything that was left over.
Throughout the dinner, we all chatted and sometimes someone would entertain the whole table with stories. At one point, someone was explaining the history of how Thanksgiving came to be. Afterwards, we waited a little while before serving dessert. Throughout the evening someone was in charge of a camera, taking pictures of anything and anyone.
Towards the end of the night, we all began to look through the pictures, and got a kick of a couple of the candids that were taken.
At the end of the day, everyone said that they had a great time, and enjoyed their first and – more than likely – last Thanksgiving. I think that was my favorite part of the day – just hearing everyone share that their experience, whether it was their first Thanksgiving or their first one away from home.
The next day, I went through Snapchat. It was fun looking at what my friends and family members did back home. I didn’t feel sad like I initially thought I would upon seeing the Snapchat stories. Everyone had a good time whether it was here in Germany or back home in the US, and I am truly grateful for that.
Sayra Flores is a junior studying business management with an emphasis in human resources. She is studying abroad at University of Mannheim, Germany.