Here in Granada, the streets have been decorated with light fixtures in the shapes of bells and snowflakes. Some homes even put up lights in their street-facing windows, and the shops that I pass to/from school have become noticeably busier. Yup, it’s holiday season again!
This is my favorite time of year as I’m usually back at Lawrence, working hard and stressing about finals (with my friends, some of whom are pictured at right), pushing myself to the very edge of my motivation to get things done. When all has been finished, there’s nothing better than coming home and being able to celebrate Thanksgiving within a day or two, to be greeted with all of those fantastic hugs, smiles and my Dad’s ridiculous and eye-roll (with a simultaneous chuckle) provoking sense of humor. Not to mention the food, of course.
While I no doubt miss being home for the holidays, I’m curious to see what it’s like to be in Spain for them. After one of my classes today, my favorite professor stopped me on my way out and said (in Spanish, of course): “Happy Turkey Day tomorrow, Jared! I hope you’ll be able to chat with your family for a bit even though we have classes all day.” It was a nice comment that caught me off-guard, but I was glad that she could appreciate the meaning of the day. She then asked what I would miss most and I said “Well a lot of things. But my Grandma Gallagher (pictured in front and center in the picture above) makes some AMAZING pies. My Grandma Marchant (pictured below in the lower right) makes some pretty fantastic dishes as well” (Notice how I didn’t list anything specific because all of the food they prepare, and that of my entire family, is truly excellent). My professor smiled and said that she wishes her Grandmothers and families could cook as well as it seems mine can. :)
Spain doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving of course, but given the number of international students (many of whom are American), it’s no secret that Thanksgiving is a big deal. Given this, many people tend to go out of their way to wish us a happy holiday, and my program has planned a nice dinner for all of us to attend. Nonetheless, no matter how intrigued or excited I may be to experience the holiday season in Spain, there is still that pang that wishes I could join in some of the holiday festivities with those that I care about.
So while I cannot be there in person to join my family at the table or give those plethora of hugs to various family members (although I am, indeed, Google video chatting with my family tomorrow), I’ll give my thanks via this blog.
I think it’s no surprise that the biggest thing I’m (and many of my fellow study abroaders are) thankful for this year is support. I would not be able to come to Spain without the willingness, trust, love and support that my parents provide. What’s more, I’m thankful for my amazing sisters who continuously impress me with all that they do and who are the ones that helped ignite that flame to travel and explore new places. I’m thankful for my exemplary extended family and all of my truly fantastic friends. All of whom have been so supportive by sending random emails to say “hello”, by reading my blog and responding, by commenting on pictures, or chatting with me via facebook from time to time. Lastly, I’m thankful for my boss at Lawrence Today, Sheree Rogers, for letting me do this blog, giving me advice, and supporting me along the way. The same goes to Laura Zuege for promoting the blog as a way to generate excitement for studying abroad and also giving me great feedback. Two amazing women that support me so much in such a unique way, for which I’m very thankful!
So, THANK YOU everyone!!!
Thank you all for your marvelous love and support and I wish ALL of you a happy holiday season! I’m so glad for the opportunity to be here in Spain and it makes me happy to be able to share these experiences with all of you even from multiple time zones away. Since I cannot be there to give you all a hug and express my thanks, I hope these words will suffice as will this picture that looks somewhat like I’m about to give a fantastic bear hug to someone:
(if it doesn’t, just pretend)
Enjoy your electronically-given bear hug dear readers! And thanks for reading thus far. Have a happy Thanksgiving and see all of you in 2012!