Thanksgiving Away from Home

While many people will be boarding planes or hopping in their cars to head home Tuesday, I will be staying on campus over the break.

This is the fourth year in a row that I’ve had to watch as everyone goes back to their families and friends, while I remain behind. I spent two breaks with nearby extended relatives, but that turned out to be a big mistake. Last year, I spent the time with my roommate, who also didn’t have anywhere to go, and this year, I’ve got a friend staying as well. But that doesn’t change the fact I’m not with the people I want to be with.

Before college, Thanksgiving was a small affair between me, my parents, and occasionally my grandmother before she passed away. Even if it was only the three of us, we went all out. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and my family’s special tradition of jello salad. I try to recreate that here. I buy sliced turkey and pan roast it. I mash up a big patch of potatoes. I’m even going to the extent of making pumpkin pie from scratch this year. But I know it won’t be the same. It won’t be my mother’s pie or my dad’s mashed potatoes. It’ll be delicious, but not the same.

Coming to accept that difference has been a challenge. When you’re stressed and tired (which everyone in Davidson is), you just want to be around people who can love and support you, whether that’s family or friends. Finding new support systems is hard, especially when those support systems go home to their own groups of important people.

Since I've come to college, my family has shifted the way it does Thanksgiving. My parents do something small and save all the big stuff for Christmas so that we can all be together to celebrate. It's good, but I think they feel the void of my distance as much as I feel the void of theirs.

The point is, being far away from those people is difficult, especially if you have to go 4-5 months without seeing that family. It makes the big breaks even sweeter when they come, though. So, here’s to make-shift Thanksgiving at Christmas and future years of Thanksgiving spent with the people I want most to be with.

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