Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart. Every year we pack up the car and drive to the tiny ski town of Red River, New Mexico where my grandparents live. The day usually involves waking up early to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, skiing for a couple hours, and of course, lots of cooking and eating. I especially cherish the time I spend bonding with my grandma over preparing fruit salad, warming up bread, and setting the table. Every year is more or less the same and every year is absolutely perfect. For that reason, it’s hard to be away from home on this holiday. 2009 marked the first time I have ever been apart from my family on this holiday when I studied in Madrid. Me and a few close friends made do with what we had and it wasn’t bad. This time around, I wanted to make it even better.
I started preparations a week earlier and made trips to The American Store and Taste of America, the two shops here where they sell overpriced imports from the US to nostalgic expats like myself. There, I snagged cranberry sauce, jellied cranberry, gravy mix and ordered a pumpkin pie to pick up Wednesday. As much as I wish I could have made one from scratch, at the end of the day, we had too many other things to prepare! Our group consisted of four girls and three guys so we put the boys in charge of the drinks and snacks, while the women handled the cooking. We ended up making mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and bought a roasted turkey. Since all of us worked during the day we didn’t have time to prepare a turkey ourselves and to be honest, I didn’t want to go through the labor. With a little help from my best friends at The Food Network, we ended up with a delicious feast. Of course, it’s nice to take time regularly to reflect on what you’re thankful for, but in this fast paced world it’s easy to forget. That’s why I’m thankful (not to be cliche) for this holiday to bring to light all the great things I have going for me. I have an amazingly supportive family that is never anything but encouraging and loving, the best friends who are always there to help, listen, and have fun with me, and a myriad of opportunities at my feet. Walking the streets of Madrid, I often think “What did I do to deserve the chance to be here?” And I know it’s because of everyone in my life. So to you, I say thanks!