From Albania to Zimbabwe: Thanksgiving

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Hi!  I’m SeungLee Lee, a sophomore hailing from Seoul, South Korea, and I am thrilled to be writing for From Albania to Zimbabwe. I will try to share all aspects of the international experience at Brown and hopefully provide a well-rounded, honest picture of what an American college experience is really like. Stay tuned!

Hi everyone, apologies for not posting this past week. It’s been quite a month both in and out of the college campus. I hope everyone is staying strong and exercising self-care in these difficult moments. This crazy semester is slowly winding down as Thanksgiving break is approaching, which is what I wanted to talk about in this week’s post.

Thanksgiving, for those who are not familiar with the holiday, is a holiday celebrated as a day of giving thanks to all grateful things that happened in that year. In the US, it is on the fourth Thursday of November. Here’s a fun fact, it was not until Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation in 1863 that it became a national holiday with a fixed date. I still remember that from my first year seminar on Lincoln along with more random facts about the man. The holiday nowadays is mostly associated with lots of food, spending time with family, and a huge sale on the following day also known as Black Friday. Unlike other holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Day, which tends to be more well-known, Thanksgiving is mainly a North American tradition. I myself had no idea what it was before I moved here, although we do have a similar holiday in September called “Chuseok.”

Besides that, Thanksgiving can be an awkward time for internationals. It’s too short for us to fly home; in fact, even a lot of domestic students from the west coast prefer to stay. So naturally it can be a little lonely, even if the dining halls try to make it festive as it can with a Thanksgiving dinner. But it is also a nice opportunity to take a break from a fast-paced semester and enjoy some self-reflection and peace on a less busy campus. Whether you spend the time catching up on work, cooking with friends or binge-watching Netflix, it gives you an opportunity to loosen up a little.

Last year, my then-roommate (who is from India) and I were invited to stay at our friend’s house in Lexington, MA, which was really awesome. Her family, who immigrated from Taiwan, indulged us with authentic Chinese food and some really interesting spins on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – that rice-stuffed turkey was on point. This time, my friend and I have been planning a trip to New York, which is basically what has been motivating us to keep going at this point. A lot of internationals go traveling during breaks, which I think is an awesome way to escape the Brown bubble – one of my friends even went on a road trip to New Hampshire. Although we may not be able to enjoy the “authentic Thanksgiving break” it can still be as relaxing or/and exciting as you want it to be.

Happy early Thanksgiving,

Seunglee

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Send me an email at seung_lee_lee@brown.edu and I will get back to you!

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