I did a lot of cool things during my five months in Australia. I snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, swam with sea turtles and reef sharks, fed kangaroos. I explored Sydney and felt almost like a local. So what stands out from my semester abroad? A very international Thanksgiving.
American holidays in Australia just aren’t the same. No one dresses up for halloween and Christmas decorations are already displayed in September. Thanksgiving was no exception. Two college friends were visit at the time, on the tail end of the their around the world trip. We all missed our families and wanted to do what we could to make the day special. They made it unforgettable by jumping out of a plane as I did what I could to share our American tradition with my friends from around the world.
Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner was frustrating to say the least. Turkey was $20 per kg, pumpkin pie was nonexistent, and no one in the store even knew what cornbread was! I ditched the turkey and stuck with my favorite nostalgic dishes – green beans, mashed potatoes, and stuffing (sadly made without cornbread). I got back from the store late and frantically started to cook.
In my family I’m normally only in charge the the mashed potatoes, so three dishes was foreign territory for me. Luckily my amazing friends let me order them around for an hour to help me prepare. I was teaching friends from England, India, and China how to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. It was pretty funny seeing Tomo put on sunglasses so he wouldn’t cry from the onions. My mood quickly took an upward swing.
Once we brought the food to the rooftop common area of our student housing I was amazed to see other American friends with a turkey in the oven and other necessary goods like sweet potatoes and pie. One of my favorite additions was the pot stickers brought by Tomo, which fit perfectly on everyone’s plate along side the turkey and mashed potatoes. We had a ton of food that was enjoyed by close to 30 people with some leftovers to spare.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it’s a time when I’m surrounded by people I care about deeply, and everyone works together to make it a special day. No, I wasn’t with my mom, dad, sister, or family friends. I was blessed with amazing friends from California, Texas, England, Turkey, India, Iran, Vietnam, Germany, China, Russia, Poland, and more. It was and I’m sure will continue to be the one of the most memorable Thanksgiving dinners of my life.