Posts tagged thanksgiving

Guest Post: Celebrating Thanksgiving Abroad

Today’s guest post is from Lauren of After living and studying in both Australia and England, she’s back in the U.S., readjusting to American life in Washington D.C. Here, she shares her experience celebrating Thanksgiving abroad, and sharing a part of her culture with others. Enjoy!
One of my fondest memories while studying abroad in England was the night I celebrated Thanksgiving with 17 of my international friends.  Packed into a tiny, European living room, we feasted on one of the greatest meals I’ve ever cooked.

For the first time in 23 years, Thanksgiving was my holiday.  I picked the menu, did the majority of the cooking, and shared all of my favorite traditions.  Instead of watching my mother prepare the turkey, I had the pleasure of buttering it up, (plucking out the insides, yuck!), and cooking it to perfection.  How proud I was!

With my two American friends, we explained the concept and history of Thanksgiving; the tradition of watching football, the significance of “Black Friday,” and most importantly, we reflected on the people, memories and places that we were thankful for.

Although it was my first Thanksgiving away from the States and without my family, it was perfect.  The menu consisted of a perfectly cooked turkey, mashed potatoes/gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, cranberry relish and cranberry orange cookies.  I spent the entire day cooking and even prepped some dishes days ahead of time.  

Candles flickered all around the room and eager faces looked up as we carried in the dishes.  The energy in the room as everyone anticipated the meal warmed my heart.  Smiles lit every face and I received numerous ‘thank yous’ for all the effort I put into the dinner.  Too often we take holidays and time spent with friends and family for granted; no one did that night—and it was a good reminder that even the smallest of things should be celebrated.
Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are in the world!

The 10 Best Things About Living in Spain

Bouts of homesickness during the holidays are normal when you’re celebrating half a world away. Missing my second Thanksgiving at home in a row set off mild to moderate pangs that had me reminiscing of the ease of locating cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie filling in the grocery store, and a day centered around comfort food, football and family.

Celebrating Thanksgiving again in Spain, surrounded by friends, sharing my culture with Spaniards (and Basques!) got me thinking. Not just because Thanksgiving is a day where we’re told we need to think of things we’re thankful for, but because I didn’t come this far from home to be sad, soppy mess every time a holiday rolls around. Then, instead of missing home, I took some time to think about all of the reasons why living in Spain is de puta madre (f’n awesome!) :

Institutionalized Napping: The Siesta

Though I rarely take advantage of this, I know taking a mid-day nap is perfectly acceptable in Spanish society and I won’t be judged for it.


Ronda, a mountain village full of white-washed houses.

Golden beaches in the South and rolling green hills in the North. There is extreme diversity here from the people to the land they live on and it’s all breathtakingly beautiful.


San Fermin

Spain knows how to par-TAY. Where else can you celebrate by participating in the world’s largest food fight, or be chased down narrow streets by raging bulls all in the name of Saints?

Every town, big or small, has it’s own “feria” (festival), a week of eating, drinking, traditional dress and most importantly: no work. In fact, Spain has more festivals than any other place on earth. On any given day in Spain there is a feria happening somewhere.


Jamon Iberico, Gazpacho and other Spanish delights

Spanish cuisine is consistently ranked among the best of the world and it’s easy to see why: fresh ingredients, unpretentious, and heavily influenced by the array of cultures that have stepped foot in Spanish lands over history.


Where Church and Sport intersect: Camp Nou’s Chapel

A sport worshiped more than any religion here. A typical questions here is “De que equipo eres?” or, “Of what team are you?” With team, player and coach coverage dominating the news, and one of the finest leagues in the world to watch, it’s impossible to not get sucked in to the world of fútbol here.


White Wine Sangria

Kalimotxos, Rebujitos, Sangría… and did I mention the wine?

Café Culture

Cafe Espresso

Hailing from the land of Starbucks (Seattle), I came here eager to try the coffee and was more than pleasantly surprised.  You can get a great cup o’ joe for mere pocket change as opposed to the $4 hot liquid sugar we guzzle down back home. Not to mention, to-go cups are virtually unheard of here. When a Spanish person goes to a cafe, they go to sit, chat and enjoy their cup of coffee. What a concept.


Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Gaudi is a household name in architecture, but in Spain it doesn’t stop there. From majestic palaces, to decadent cathedrals, colonial houses to contemporary museums, Spain is well-respected for their contributions to the world of architecture.


Wall Mural, Ronda

Salvador Dali, Picasso, Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya…Spain has produced some of the world’s most well-regarded artists and the artwork here remains a staple in tourism.

The People

Performers at the Carnival in Cadiz

The Spanish are famous for their passion and it inundates their language and their lives. Their focus on their family is admirable and their way of life continues to make Spain a popular destination for travelers.

(Photo credits: mysza831 on Flickr for siesta photo)

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