Another Spanish Thanksgiving
Por supuesto, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Spain. And I’m okay with that, really. Thanksgiving is nice, but it’s never been one of my favorite holidays. Maybe because I’m not a huge fan of any Thanksgiving foods (aside from canned cranberry sauce) and my family doesn’t have any particular traditions (that’s more of a Christmas thing). But I’ve found myself taking Thanksgiving a lot less for granted the two years I’ve been in Spain for it.
Since I’m a language and culture assistant, I’ve been doing presentations about American things, like my family, Halloween, or, this week, Thanksgiving. So I enjoyed revisiting the history of Thanksgiving and recapping it by showing my older students a PowerPoint presentation, reading the Thanksgiving books I brought with me from the U.S., finding a crossword puzzle for my younger students to do, and helping the preschoolers with the Thanksgiving activity in their workbook. And it brought a huge smile to my face when my 1st graders, most likely prompted by their teacher, ran into my classroom Thursday yelling, “HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!”
Most students were baffled by what cranberries were (apparently the word for “cranberry” in Spanish, “arándano,” also means blueberry, which makes me think Spain has never seen a cranberry), and I got a kick out of seeing their shocked expressions when I told them that sometimes people die on Black Friday (fortunately, no one seemed to attribute that to Americans’ ridiculous materialism). I forced the older students to participate in my least favorite Thanksgiving tradition, going around and saying what they’re thankful for, which for whatever reason is a lot more fun in an English class than when sitting around a table with family. And I appreciated the one student who argued I should have gotten the day off. (I think I’m just fine with all the free time I already have.)
As for Thanksgiving night, a few of my American friends agreed to meet up and try to find something slightly resembling Thanksgiving food. VIPS supposedly had turkey sandwiches, but upon arriving, we learned that they didn’t, so instead we went to an Irish pub that was playing football and served me “chicken tenders” that looked more like funnel cake. Not very Thanksgiving-y, but a nice evening nonetheless. Earlier in the week, my dad brought me some canned cranberry sauce that I planned to dive into once I got home, but without a can opener, I just looked at it longingly.
As dull as I find turkey, and as apathetic I usually am toward the holiday, one thing I do love about it is thinking about all the things in my life that I’m ridiculously thankful for. And there are a lot of them. For being in Spain, for having amazing people back home to miss, for the friends I’ve made here, for my job and the wonderful students and teachers I get to interact with, for my dad visiting Spain this week and traveling to Portugal, Gibraltar, and a few Spanish cities with him, for how beautiful Sevilla is, for my upcoming trip to Morocco, for every one of you who’s reading this, for the fact I’ll get to see lots of you in under a month, and so, so much more.
Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone!