Studying abroad is an emotional experience. I feel like a million people have said this before. In fact, I’ve probably said this before. But it is worth repeating. When you first arrive, you are exhausted and exhilarated. But at some points during the semester it is inevitable you get homesick (even if it is just for a short period of time). I have actually been doing really well, which I think is partly thanks to my going so far away for college in the first place. For most of this semester, I have been very happy in London. However, it is hard not to miss family over Thanksgiving, especially when they are all gathering together like my family does.
I feel that I must add that feeling homesick does not mean you should do something different. It is all part of the experience. It does not mean you do not value where you are.
Luckily, IES is helping us. They bought us the ingredient and we are cooking ourselves a Thanksgiving meal. My roommate and I made six pies – three apple pies and three pumpkin. Plus, with the leftover dough and ingredients, we are also making individual pies in a cupcake pan. Tonight, we (35 of us) will get together and eat.
There are other ways of making this time easier. I have already Skyped with my family. I also ate a bagel for breakfast. This information might seem out of nowhere, but it is part of my tradition. Every year at my grandparents’ house in Philadelphia we eat a large breakfast, including bagels, and then do not eat again until 6pm. It works well for us.
The funny this is, I keep expecting it to be Christmas here. In London, some Christmas decorations came out before Halloween (they do not really celebrate that holiday here). So I’m more surprised it is Thanksgiving than that Christmas is soon.
For instance, I went to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland festival last weekend. This was fantastic. It was a strange combination of an amusement park and a classy Christmas market. It also had strange food for sale – and alcohol. There were so many stands for hot chocolate that listed another price if you wanted brandy in it. There were stands that solely sold corn on the cob. I ended up getting a huge slice of garlic bread and walking around the park. It was great – like nothing you would get in the US.
So even if I cannot have my family here for Thanksgiving, there are tons of other great things to do. And I will see them soon.