Coming to the United States as an international student from Sweden, I
got introduced to many new traditions and holidays. Some of these holidays
are also celebrated in Sweden, for example Christmas and Easter, even if we
might celebrate them a little differently. But, I also got to experience
new and different traditions. One of the new traditions I got to
experience was how to celebrate a “real” American Thanksgiving. The first
time I celebrated it, I was 17 years old and didn’t think too much of it.
Of course, I thought that it was nice to get some time off from school and
have a delicious meal, but there wasn’t much more to it than that. But now,
a couple of years older, living on my own, far away from my family,
Thanksgiving has gotten a whole other meaning to it, and I absolutely love
this holiday. To me, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with the family, a
time to show them how thankful you are for having them, and a time to tell
them how much you appreciate them.
Since my own family is in Sweden there was no question of where my
boyfriend, Ryan, and me were going to spend Thanksgiving this year. His
family lives in Connecticut so we packed our bags and flew up to the chilly
but absolutely gorgeous little state in the North East. I have been there
many times before and every time his parents welcome me with open arms,
like I am one of their own.
This makes me feel like I really am part of the
family and that I belong there for this holiday. We stayed at their house
and they served us like it was their job. On Thanksgiving Day we left for
an early lunch at the Grandparents house and after that we went to the
other Grandparents to have dinner. That way, we got to see the whole family
on Thanksgiving Day, and that was our goal. Even if we had to spend some
time driving around, it was well worth it as we got to see how our
appearance made everybody feel happy.
If our appearance made everybody else happy it was nothing compared to
how it made us feel.
Both Ryan, and me were ecstatic that we were able to
come home and be with the family on this day and we were determined to show
them how thankful we were for having them. But, Thanksgiving is not a time
where you show other people your appreciation by buying them gifts, like
you do for Christmas, so instead we tried to simply make sure that we
acted, and told, everybody how thankful we were for having them. There are
lots of ways you can show people you appreciation. This Thanksgiving, for
example, I said a Swedish prayer before dinner, even though I’m not very
religious at all. But, Ryan’s grandfather was born in Sweden, and wished to
hear some Swedish, so I thought it was a good opportunity to make him
happy, and I was right. The only thing this old man wanted to talk about
for the rest of the evening was my prayer.
It was nice to see how something
so simple could make someone so happy.
Making people happy and show them how thankful you are for having them
is nice, but I feel that the most important thing is to tell people that
are close to you how much you love and appreciate them. Acting and telling
people that are close to you, how much you love them are something you
should always do, but somehow it seems to be easy to treat the ones you
love carelessly every now and then. Therefore it is nice to have at least
one day when you really think about how you act and what you say.
Thanksgiving, I think, is a great opportunity for doing just that. When I
woke up this Thanksgiving morning, the first thing I did was turning
around, looking straight into Ryan’s dark brown eyes, and whisper:
– “I love you”.
Celebrating Thanksgiving is, for me, all about being with the family,
showing them emotions. As I mentioned earlier, this is a holiday that we
don’t have in Sweden and I have to admit that Swedes are missing out on
something. Not only is the turkey dinner delicious, but the family
gathering, the thankfulness, and the appreciation that fills the air is, at
least to me, so valuable. .