Celebrating holidays in a country other than the one in which you were born can be really interesting. It’s an opportunity to get to know another culture’s customs and to see how they’re similar or different to your own.
But what do you do when one of the biggest holidays of the year in America doesn’t carry over to your study abroad country? What happens when Thanksgiving is just another Thursday?
Until last week, I really wasn’t sure. Since America has managed to commercialize just about every holiday in existence, I half-expected Thanksgiving to exist, at least to some degree, in the UK.
I was proven wrong. Thanksgiving is most certainly not a thing here. Since the date of Thanksgiving changes every year, the Brits have absolutely no idea that it’s happening. My co-workers were more aware of our midterm elections than my second-favorite holiday. One of them actually wished me luck on November 6th, but when Turkey day rolled around: silence.
So, what’s a turkey-deprived American with mediocre culinary skills and a 9-to-5 internship to do on Thanksgiving in London?
Go to the movies, of course.
Well, that’s what my roommate and I did. We treated ourselves to the new Fantastic Beasts movie: The Crimes of Grindelwald, then went home and got to bed early.
Others managed to be a bit more creative and well planned than us. They held mini “friends-giving” dinners in their kitchens or went out to dinner together. Some had family visiting for the holiday, and others attended dinners back home via FaceTime.
In fact, FaceTime was a common theme in our dorm on Thanksgiving. I could barely maintain enough bandwidth to chat with my parents, since everyone else seemed to be trying to do the same.
Although the technical difficulties were annoying, it was touching to see everyone prioritizing one of the best parts about the holiday: family and friends. I also really enjoyed chatting with my friends about their Thanksgiving traditions and, without fail, debating about what the best Thanksgiving dish is.
This was my first big family holiday away from home, and I had been a little anxious as to how I’d feel about it. Of course, I felt a little homesick scrolling through my Instagram feed and seeing my friends’ pictures of beautiful Rhode Island beaches and overflowing dining room tables.
However, that’s nothing Eddie Redmayne can’t fix. If anything, spending Thanksgiving in the UK just made me even more thankful for everything that’s waiting for me when I go back home.
Claire Doire, Study Abroad Correspondent
Claire Doire is a junior at Boston University studying Public Relations with a minor in Political Science. She hails from Middletown, Rhode Island and is currently studying abroad in London: the home of her wordsmithing hero, William Shakespeare. Back in Boston, Claire spends her free time dancing, acting, and working hard to one day become her own version of The West Wing’s C.J. Cregg.