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Journals from England 2008

2008-11-30 Turkey Day

As Im writing this entry on the last day of November, its a little hard to believe that 2009 is already so fast approaching. What has made this realization particularly startling for me is the fact that the holiday season has officially begun; this year is sure to be unconventional and is already shaping up to be one of the most memorable of my life. Obviously Thanksgiving is an American tradition and there is no reason to recognize it overseas, but it was certainly strange attending class last Thursday with the knowledge that the rest of my family and friends were at home watching American football and stuffing themselves with pumpkin pie, neither of which are readily available here in England; even turkey as it is served at home is hard to find! Instead of wallowing in self-pity (Ive received no sympathy from my family, who insist that, because Im in Europe, I have nothing to complain about), several of us decided that, even though we were thousands of miles from home, the occasion still deserved something better than cafeteria food. Our search for the next best thing to home cooking led us to the TGI Fridays in Nottinghams city centre, where we marveled over the bottles of Heinz ketchup on the tables (trust me, there is a difference) and the abundance of ranch dressing. Mashed potatoes were replaced with french fries and turkey with cheeseburgers, but, as it was the closest thing to American food wed tasted in two and a half months, none of us seemed to care. Indeed, it was fun to be surrounded by people who couldnt stop smiling at the fact that the bacon was semi-crispy, and it gave us all a laugh when John Mellencamp came over the loudspeaker. Afterward we headed over to a hell-themed pub for the rest of the evening- definitely not what comes to mind when you think Thanksgiving. Still, I had a lot of fun. I think the best part was being able to take a break from our cultural immersion and indulge in all the cheesy things from home we hate to admit weve missed. Life would be perfect if I could get some Taco Bell, but thats a different story Being that theres no Thanksgiving in Europe, Christmas decorations have been up since Halloween and theres no shortage of charm. Here in Nottingham lights hang above practically every street and theyve set up an ice rink and German Christmas market in Parliament Square. Im heading down to London again next weekend, so Im anxious to see how the holiday spirit has materialized there. Ill be spending Christmas in Paris with a couple other Linfield friends and am confident that it will be as successful, and as quirky, as Thanksgiving was. I guess well just have to wait and see. Until next time! ~Claire

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