Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It is steeped in tradition, and centered on gratitude. We play games, watch football, and eat too much. But we spend some great quality time together and really focus on all of the many things in our lives for which we are grateful.
One of the things I am grateful for is that for the last three years, I have had the honor of hosting some international students in my home for our Thanksgiving holiday. The first year was through a program put together by Dan Redford at MSU, and we had three Chinese students share our meal with us. My children and other family members very much enjoyed chatting with the students, learning some Chinese, and learning about China’s traditions. It was fun watching the students experience their first American Thanksgiving dinner as well.
The last two years I have invited my international interns to my home for Thanksgiving. And now it has become part of our Thanksgiving tradition. I am overwhelmed by the gratitude my students show for being included. Skyin even told me that she now feels she has a family in Michigan. What an awesome reward! And even though she is no longer my intern, (she’s now the Business Development Manager at Message Makers) she is coming back this year. Shasha has moved to Arizona to pursue her Ph.D. She will be greatly missed, but we will still eat her favorite Triple Chocolate Truffle cake in her absence, and arrange a Skype call so we can celebrate together in some way. This year we will also have India represented, and I look forward to hearing about India’s traditions, and of course hearing Anand’s infectious laugh.
According to Wikipedia, Canada, The Netherlands, Liberia, Norfolk Island (in Australia), Grenada, Germany, and Japan all celebrate Thanksgiving, or a holiday that is similar. Maybe I should do a Thanksgiving world tour to make a firsthand comparison? I’ll put that on my bucket list. For now, I will just look forward to Thursday and celebrating our newest tradition, an International Holiday Feast, and give thanks.