Thankgiving in Chile

24 November 2006
3:12 PM

Friends at Thanksgiving
(from left to right) Meg, Caitlin, Tom, Isabel, Maureen, Emily, Ryan, and Roy celebrate Thanksgiving at Saint George in Santiago.

Sandwiched between the two most kid-marketed holidays, Halloween and Christmas, is probably the most adult one. Enjoying Thanksgiving is a mark of growing up. It has no candy and no toys, which is just as well because once you get older, you buy those for yourself. Instead, this remarkably under-commercialized holiday offers toys more precious to older people: good food and time spent with friends and family. Arguably it’s one of our best inventions in America. This year in Chile we were celebrated with an amazing dinner prepared for us at Saint George, the Holy Cross school in Santiago.

The turkey was gigantic. I have never been responsible for preparing a Thanksgiving turkey, and after seeing offerings like the one this year, I’ll probably be too scared to try anytime in the near future. The friends who are making their way through this experience with me—Emily, Maureen, Caitlin, Meg, Tom, and Roy—were all there. The ACE teachers in Chile were too, and we scored an invitation to see the Notre Dame-USC game on Saturday night at their house. My first college football in two years! Food, friends, and football: there really is plenty to be thankful for even in a foreign land.

While being away from family for those years has its definite downside, I think of it as another reason for genuine thankfulness. Even in America, not many people get to see so much of our world. Besides, next year I’ll be home for Thanksgiving—and not just in my dreams.