Spending Thanksgiving Away From Home

In the days leading up to break when my friends asked what my plans were, I listed off the same inconveniences that traveling to the East Coast for such a short amount of time would present.  


The airport would be a nightmare.  


I would just be going home to study for finals.  


It’s expensive.  


Christmas break is soon anyways…


It wasn’t until people actually started leaving for home that a wave of distant feelings and longing for my family hit.  When wrapped up with school and due dates, it’s easy to push aside such feelings and dismiss them as just being tired from the lengthy semester that is finally rearing its end.  Do I want to go home or do I just want this semester to be over? This is the question that I asked myself in a brief moment of reflection while I packed for my friend, Hayley’s house — a fellow Her Campus Writer and Social Media Editor.


    I am now laying in my best friend’s bed writing this article after having spent this past holiday with her and her family.  First off, a quick disclaimer, I would like to say that I am so lucky to have a friend whose family was willing to invite me into their home for the long weekend.  But! For some reason, this Thanksgiving just felt a little different so I thought I would share how my holiday went.


    Due to my very unfortunate night class that goes from 6-10 pm on Tuesday, Hayley and I were two of the last few people left on campus.  We embarked on our drive up to San Francisco around 8 am on Wednesday, only stopping for gas, the bathroom, and a quick bite to eat. We arrived around 2 pm and decompressed before walking around the neighborhood she grew up in for a little hometown tour.  For dinner, we had sushi at her house and I’m not going to lie, I felt very awkward and nervous, almost like I was meeting my boyfriend’s parents or something. Although that had nothing to do with them, it was all me and my chronic tendency to overthink every past, present, and future interaction.



    On Thanksgiving day, I didn’t wake up until 11 am because the drive up completely wiped me out — sitting in the passenger seat is hard work, okay?  Anyways, we started the day with some french toast then sat in front of the TV until her cousins and other extended family members started to arrive.  The worst part of meeting her extended family was debating whether to go for a simple handshake or straight in for a hug. I settled on the handshake. All the overthinking sure worked up an appetite so you can only imagine the joy I felt when the cheese platter was presented.  What a selection of cheese and crackers, exquisite really. Then dinner came and you bet I made sure I got an end seat next to across from Hayley so I wouldn’t be boxed in by unfamiliarity and uncomfortable small talk.

The food was amazing.  The people were very kind and welcoming, yet I still felt this lingering sense that I was intruding on family time even though everyone was doing their best to include me.

As it got later into the night, Hayley and her cousins spent some long-overdue time to catch up.  So, I found an excuse to retreat to Hayley’s room and just get some time alone. Don’t get me wrong, Hayley and her family are absolutely great.  It’s just tiring to be around someone else’s family when you’re missing your own.

    Black Friday.  I’ve never gone Black Friday shopping and still don’t feel particularly inclined to muscle my way through aggressive crowds for mediocre sales when Cyber Monday is only three days away.  So, we spent the day doing something a little more up my alley. Hayley showed me the murals of La Mission where we picked up some pan dulces before heading to Haight Ashbury to look at vintage shops and some small-scale boutiques.  I LOVED Haight Ashbury, it was a side of San Francisco that I’ve never seen before.

Photos by Joanna Cabalquinto


After our day out, I went with her family to pick out a Christmas tree which really made me want to be with my family.  Especially because that’s something we always do together. Then for dinner, the classic Thanksgiving leftovers, just as delicious as the night before.


In conclusion, this Thanksgiving weekend was a fun and relaxing opportunity to get to know my best friend’s family and I’m so grateful and fortunate to have had a place to go.  I just keep reminding myself it’s only two weeks until I get to see my own family. I miss our Thanksgiving traditions but I guess it’s all part of growing up.  


I am thankful for a best friend that is my home away from home.


I am thankful for my family that I will be going home to very soon.