Here’s the thing: Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Sure, I don’t eat meat so it’s not about the turkey (though I do love a good tofurkey and could start drooling just thinking about the delicious feast my family prepares). It’s more about tradition.
If you live in my area of Connecticut, this day is a BIG DEAL. There’s nothing like Thanksgiving in Manchester: sharing your morning with thousands of other runners as you celebrate by running 4.7 miles through the streets, being cheered on by everyone and their brother. This year was the 78th anniversary of The Manchester Road Race. It’s one of my favorite traditions and I’ve been running this race (even when I had mono and wasn’t allowed to) for years. I love the energy. I love Safety Man and the guys who always dress up (more like dress DOWN) as Indians, Manchester High School’s mascot (yeah, I know… racist, much?). I love all the drunk people offering you beers at every mile. I love that I always run with a different group of people. I love that I don’t have to feel guilty for eating everything in site when I get home. I love starting my morning with such a big smile on my face, thinking about all the things that I’m thankful for.
This year in particular, I have so much to be thankful for. I am living my dream of studying abroad in Spain, improving my Spanish, meeting new people, and traveling. I am happy and healthy. I have been learning so much about other cultures, the world, and myself. I am so lucky to have been given the chance to have this experience and for people who support me 100%.
And for that, I am so thankful for my support system, my backbone, my cheerleaders. My parents and sister are the most fantastic family I could have ever asked for. They put up with me and my dramatic tendencies and have allowed me to have so many crazy and beautiful adventures. I miss them more than they could ever imagine. I am thankful for my host family, who has made living in another country so much more like home. I am thankful for my best friends here, who have made this experience abroad so unforgettable and with whom I share many memories I can only laugh about. It was incredibly sad and difficult for me to be so far on what I would consider one of my favorite days of the year, and I’m so happy that I got to spend it with people who made me laugh and forget about being homesick. I am thankful for my best friends at home for keeping in touch even when it’s hard and for being so kind-hearted. Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for my boyfriend who dropped everything at home to come visit me, making my time here even more memorable, and for being a person I can always rely on.
I am so grateful every day for all the wonderful people and experiences I am lucky enough to have in my life, and being across the world truly makes me reflect even more than usual. Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. Here’s my Thanksgiving feast: churros, burritos, and margaritas. Not quite the same.