Happy Turkey Week everyone! Holiday season started October 31st for me so this is the second holiday in a string of fun; over eating, appreciation of loved ones, and in general, just an amazing holiday season is underway and every bit of it brings a huge smile to my face.
This past weekend we officially began our Christmas music- because there is no Thanksgiving here, there is no time limit! However, AHA did give us an amazing gift this week, a full Thanksgiving feast, Italian-American style, on Monday night.
We all walked into “Il Secondo” together to a beautifully decorated dining room, menus for the nights feast at each spot. Soon, after we all took our seats, the plates of food began to arrive. Course after course was brought out, mixing up American traditions such as potatoes, with the Italian love of frying things, to give us homemade potato chips. Plates of cheeses, meats, fried veggies and meat stuffed olives were only the beginning. Soon was the Maceratese special lasagna and just when you thought you were stuffed, they presented us with a beautiful turkey and cake and a cafe to finish it off.
Honestly, the whole night was more than I ever could have asked. The night was spent with a group of people that I can say feel more like family than friendship. Sure, we all ride each others’ last nerves, and we all like to push the envelope with each other just a little too far. But these people, the students, the professors, and the administration, have all gone through the same things, experienced this same ups and downs in the last 3 months: the students with their adjustments and the adults helping us figure it out. Of course, we all have our own things we have to deal with, but I have twenty-something people I can call on at any moment; no matter how sick of my off-key singing or terrifying dancing they are, they’ll be there. I know I’m being super beyond cheesy, but it’s Thanksgiving! I don’t think there is a better time to show how grateful you are for people.
So as we all sat around and came to realization that we have less than a month here, I began to think about what I am grateful for. As with many families, my family always goes in a circle and says what they are thankful for. So here is mine!
First of all, I am beyond thankful for the life I have, the Hope I have been given, and the forgiveness shown to me on a daily basis. I am so far from perfect, I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am that I haven’t been given up on just yet! My family, obviously, is my world. I do not think I could get through a day without the knowledge that they are there, only a phone call away, just in case.
My friends… I have to say… the thing I am thankful for the most, obviously that I HAVE friends (sometimes I’m not sure how…) but also that they make an effort to talk to me! It’s kinda a great feeling for someone to say “hey, wish you were here right now!” Of course it’s silly, but I appreciate it all the same. I know how busy everyone is, life moves so fast right now! When I have someone from home take a minute to say hi, it reminds me why I’m leaving this beautiful country in the first place! Believe me, it’s not for Lafollette dining!
And last but most definitely not least, I am beyond thankful for everything that has happened in the last year. Ups, downs, backward moments, I could not have asked for a better year. I have finally seen a product of my last two years of working (this trip) and I spent an entire summer, working for nothing, just for the sake of having a job. I have changed, grown up a bit (not too much, don’t worry), and have slowly figured out exactly what I want out of my life. Of course this is the sentimental me talking, ask me about this blog in a week and I’ll deny it ever happened!
But really, I do appreciate the things I have. I have extremely hard-working parents who have given me so many opportunities; they are great role models, kids! This Thanksgiving, rather than being with my Family, I will be in Florence with my AHA famiglia. Considering Filaberto already put together an entire Italian-American Thanksgiving, I’m sure my stomach will be okay skipping Thursday’s big meal.
Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! Make sure you tell people how important they are to you; we have no idea what the future holds, and in the words of John Mayer, “it’s better to say too much, than to never say what you need to say.” So tell your family they mean the world to you, even if sometimes you want to slap them, and tell your friends you’re not going anywhere.
Be a little sentimental on Thursday, for the sake of the holiday ….just make sure you snap out of it in time to trample the slow-pokes in line at 4am Friday morning in Wal-Mart J
Love, HOLIDAY GREETINGS, xoxo