by Theodora Hannan, USA
Hello! I’m here to awaken you from your post-Thanksgiving slumber. This is a bit strange for me, because I’m an American student, and I’ve spent the last nineteen years having a Thanksgiving blowout meal every third Thursday of November, and to me it just seems normal. But being an International Ambassador has provided constant mental kicks to my default mode, and I spent quite a bit of time this week thinking about all of you.
I know for certain of a few countries that most definitely have a Thanksgiving Day, but I don’t think it’s a safe assumption to suppose that each one does. And when I begin to think about it more and more, what is Thanksgiving really for here in America? It’s Turkey Day, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (which, for the record, I did watch, and I swear it had more international music entertainers than Americans, doesn’t that strike you as a little strange? Maybe just me, but I wasn’t expecting Carly Rae Jepsen), it’s the day before Black Friday, the most profitable day for the US economy (followed closely by the upcoming Cyber Monday). As I stopped and stuttered every time I wished one of my international friends a happy Thanksgiving, I had to wonder: what is this day about?
There are plenty of other national holidays here, many of which are official days off: Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day…. And this seemingly random day in November is just another day, after all – in fact it was one of my new international friend’s birthday on Thursday! Life goes on living, the world goes on spinning – what’s so cool about today?
I have a pieve of family lore that makes me laugh and roll my eyes every year. My mother’s side of the family is actually related to some of the original pilgrims who came to the New World way back when. Now, according to their stories (corroborated by a library book when I was about twelve), one of my ancestors was a little kid that first year, was a right little terror, and got himself lost and picked up by the Indians (ahem – Native Americans, to be politically correct). They returned him safe and sound to the colonists, and began the peaceful first interactions between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims.
Now, I don’t really know how true this is (cute children’s library books aside), and frankly, I don’t really even care. Because the point is that it’s supposed to be a happy celebration, about friends who are friends even if they don’t particularly want to be (that little kid really was a handful according to the stories, I wouldn’t’ve blamed the Indians or the Pilgrims for wringing his neck). My family has never gone around the table and had everyone say what ze is thankful for, and I’m sure it’s due to the extreme strangeness of my family (don’t ask), because most people in America do this. And I for one think it’s nice: a time to be grateful to others, to share what makes you happiest, to take joy in others’ joy. That kind of mutual concern and love has nothing to do with nationality, an dI hope each and every one of you experienced something like that this week.