Thanksgiving is a time to relax, eat way too much food, and enjoy some time off before the last week of classes for the winter quarter. I personally spent my Thanksgiving break at home in DC with my family, and while going home may be the norm, it’s by no means the only way Boothies spend Thanksgiving.
For those students who stick around in Chicago, the Graduate Business Council (GBC) hosts an annual International Students Thanksgiving dinner for 70 students at a Chicago restaurant on Thanksgiving-eve. Some of the more adventurous students chose to take a vacation – for example, second-year student Pallav Mehta organized a trip with five Boothies to Puerto Rico for some sun and sand over the long weekend (including great dinners, beaches, old San Juan and a trip to the bio luminescent bay). Other students spent the weekend with classmates. Last year, current second-year Marta Valer, who couldn’t make it to her hometown of Zaragoza, Spain, went home with friend and classmate KR Ling. It was a typical Thanksgiving – well, for the most part…
“All I knew about Thanksgiving before coming to Booth is what I learned watching Friends. It looked fun – meet with family and friends, start having dinner at 4pm (which in Spain is typically just a late lunch) and eat lots of turkey, something with cranberries, and my favorite – lots of pies. Last year, my friend KR invited me to spend the holidays with her family in New Jersey and I immediately said yes. But all those movies and shows hadn’t really prepared me for the real thing.
First of all, the excitement on the day before: everyone taking their suitcases to class and sharing Ubers to the airport. Unfortunately, when we got to O’hare; delayed flights and cancellations everywhere. Luckily, many other Boothies were in the same boat, which made the wait much better. Especially when one got the whole group into the VIP Lounge!
When we arrived in New Jersey, KR’s dad picked us up at the airport and drove us to the Ling’s headquarters, where we had a late dinner of steak and some pies (the fun started). I wouldn’t have eaten that dinner had I known what was coming the next day. Actually, I would’ve stopped eating a week before had I known better.
On Thursday morning we started cooking and baking. I baked my first chocolate pie, and it was a great first time baking experience. Each member of the family baked one or two pies, so there was no pressure on my pie being edible; worst case we would just throw it away and eat the remaining eight pies.
We started dinner at 4pm and after three hours of eating, we rolled to the couch to watch some football and movies. I passed out on minute one – with the Ling’s dog sleeping on top of me – and woke up to the smell of pies. Time for dessert! And that’s how my friend KR does Thanksgiving.
But it wasn’t all about food. During the holidays I also got to do some Black Friday shopping (although I was already an expert on that) and we saw some New Jersey buildings and churches built 200 years ago, which is considered old in the US. A very different perspective coming from my hometown, which had been built by the Romans.
Food comas aside, I very much enjoyed my first American Thanksgiving and see it now as a great time where you go back home, meet old friends from childhood, watch videos of your performance in a kindergarten play, and spend some quality time with family. I’m also super excited to re-visit those memories by going back to New Jersey for my second American Thanksgiving. This year I’m challenging myself with the adventure of baking my first pumpkin pie and couldn’t be happier to spend the holidays over at the Ling’s. Overall, an awesome tradition that I encourage all non-American students to try out next year!”
How would you chose to spend your first Booth Thanksgiving?