Being abroad makes your life full of firsts – this weekend, I experienced my first holiday away from home. Thanksgiving has always been a happy time in the year because it’s the precursor to all the exciting things that come in the fall and the winter like birthdays, and celebrations. I had conflicting emotions when I looked at the calendar a few weeks ago and realized that Thanksgiving was fast approaching. I was sad that I would not be at home celebrating with my family, but I was also very excited to share some Canadian culture with my new family on my residence floor.
Thanksgiving at home is always easy, mom and dad cook the turkey, then we go to my aunt and uncle’s house, and we eat. This year however, I was in charge (what?) – I had to decide what to cook, make sure everyone with dietary restrictions was able to eat, and figure out how to cook everything with a two burner hot plate.
After much perusing of Buzzfeed and the Food Network, I was still stuck. I decided to call my mom because she is always full of good ideas, and I wasn’t going to pass up her help even though we are ~6000km away from each other. Together we came up with a great Thanksgiving meal that everyone could eat; Soup, chicken, vegetables, gravy, and dessert. I very excitedly posted on our event page… then was sassed about not having turkey. But seriously, I couldn’t find turkey anywhere! Matthijs offered to order a turkey, but even if that had happened, I would not have known how to cook it without a big enough oven.
On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, I hit the market to get some of the ingredients for dinner. The market is usually more affordable than the grocery store if you are looking for fruits and veggies. On Saturday, I hit the Albert Heijn, affectionately known as AH, with Nicole to finish off the groceries (life hack: go shopping with someone who speaks Dutch to avoid confusion). Saturday evening was full of prep work, I made the soup, rice, and seasoned the chicken, so that cooking would be more relaxed the next day. Sunday, I managed to get some homework done, then cooking started! I am very thankful for my awesome friends (esp. Nadia) who helped me to get everything done throughout the afternoon. After much running around, dinner was finally finished! At 6:30 we all sat down to eat, and celebrate!
The dinner was a major hit and the evening was quite gezellig (see my Teach Me: Dutch video to learn what that means). I am so thankful for the opportunity to study abroad, and I could not ask for a better environment to study in. The atmosphere at UCR is similar to Glendon, the community is very tight knit, and everyone I’ve met has warmly welcomed me into their world. When you’re an exchange student, you’re in somewhat of a limbo between being a “first year” and an upper year. I bonded with first years during frosh and I’ve had the opportunity to interact with upper years (as I am taking upper year courses). With every passing day, I feel more at home, thanks to the love and support that I am getting from my new friends.
Aaaanyway… enough with the sappy Thankgiving feels. Check out the vlog I filmed throughout the day to chronicle the Thanksgiving adventures of Sixtum!
There’s not much to report this week, but I was biking with my friends on two different occasions, and they both told me that I look a lot more comfortable while riding than I did a month ago!
Song of the Week: California – Ed Prosek