7 min read
We would like to wish all of our former clients in the USA, and all of our American friends across the pond a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. In the US, it falls on the fourth Thursday of November, on the same day as Columbus Day and often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated. You can find out more about the origins of Thanksgiving here. This celebration will bring a whole new experience to those who are out in the states on a sports scholarship. Many of our former clients and staff have reminisced about being welcomed in by their American friends and their families around this time of year, so we hope that everyone enjoys the same warm welcome. Thanksgiving message from Nicole Montoya, the American (cookie maker!) in the FirstPoint USA office: "Thanksgiving is an amazing time to be together with your family. It’s not really one of those holidays you spend with friends, but it can be especially if you are away from home during this time of the year which many international students will be. This year, 2011, will mark the 5th year in a row that I have been away from my family in the States for Thanksgiving, which has been a bit tough. Now living in the UK for just over a year now, when I try explaining what Thanksgiving is all about they usually say, “Aye, right...it’s like a Christmas dinner only in November. So, it’s like a warm-up to the real thing”. I just laugh politely and agree, but it isn’t completely accurate. I do have the luxury of being with my extended family (the in-laws) this year as well as last, even though it’s not 100% the same they really do make the effort to make the holiday special for me. While I was at university in the States, I was 3,000 miles away from home and only made one trip home for this holiday (the first year). In the years following I had been taken in by my teammates and friends’ families to join them. I think that was the most special thing about being part of a team, they really did become your family away from home which many of our FPUSA clients will experience in their time. When you celebrate this holiday with an American family, you will be greeted with a giant turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potato, stuffing, lots of various vegetables, perhaps a ham, a PUMPKIN pie, mashed potato and gravy, and maybe a wee drink (remember legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21+). To those clients who are currently out in the States, enjoy it and embrace it all. Make sure to tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC at 9:00a.m EST. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!" We have also spoken to some of our other staff members who have spent Thanksgiving at University in the USA, to share their experiences with us: "First thanksgiving in America I spent a week with my roommates family in Indianapolis/Indiana. I spent most of the week staying with my roommates family and hanging about the city. My roommate’s best friend from high school now plays in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers (Josh Mcroberts), so he got us VIP tickets for two Pacers games then took us out on the town all expenses paid. On thanksgiving day itself, we went to my roommates grandparents house and had a meal with the WHOLE family. There was honestly about 25 people there who had travelled from all over America. Everybody had to stand up and say what they are thankful for, hilariously cheesy. Very much a big family thing in America, similar to a family Christmas Dinner in the UK." Kevin McCann "Thanksgiving was something I had NEVER experienced before so it was really exciting the first time round. I went to Dellaware to spend Thanksgiving with one of my best friends on my team and her family. We left campus and drove 12 hours to get home on the Thursday afternoon once classes had stopped. It was definitely a road trip that I will never forget. When we arrived my friend’s mum was so lovely and welcoming and had prepared a feast. They didn’t feel weird having another person sharing this celebration with them, in fact it was almost normal to bring someone home with you from college. Thanksgiving day was mental so much cooking, drinking and general nonsense, there was just so much food. We helped in the kitchen...checking the turkey, buttering the sweet potatoes and chopping up the salad. Nobody was allowed to eat until the dinner table was set and then the rest of the family all came round. I got a chance to meet the whole extended family and everyone was just so friendly, the strangest thing was that they had their Christmas tree up already. By the end of the meal I was absolutely stuffed and everyone went to the living room and just chilled out and watched movies for the rest of the evening. The next morning we go up at a ridiculous hour (5am!!!) and went to a big shopping mall to go shopping. Dellaware is a tax-free state so shopping is very cheap. I have never in my life seen crowds like it. People had been queuing to get into the Nike store since 3 am. Needless to say I got some bargains that day!! We then stopped by grandma and grandpa’s house where I tried a famous cheesesteak sandwich. Thanksgiving was a great experience and an extra holiday!!!!! " Nicola Pitticas "I loved Thanksgiving during my time in the states. So many American families would invite the international students along to their homes to spend thanksgiving with them. A long weekend off uni/training, lovely meal followed by a day in front of the TV watching the Thanksgiving American Football." Simone Enrici "I celebrated Thanksgiving in a small town in Iowa called Stuart with my mates family and a few of the other Scottish guys. A friendly welcome, a turkey dinner, followed by watching some American football and a nap on the couch!" Craig Hughes "My first year in America, I was living in Brooklyn, New York. It came to Thanksgiving and everyone was leaving for home. I had become really good friends with a boy on my team, Lexton Moy, who was originally from China Town, New York. Myself, and a Polish boy who also played on the team, were the only two boys who didn't really have a clue what was going on and so Lexton invited us both over to his parents house for thanksgiving dinner. His mum did not speak much English and all the players knew his Dad from coming to the games. His mum had cooked up a storm! She made turkey, ham and beef, along with mash, stuffing and all the veg. It was amazing, probably my first home cooked meal since moving to America, and one of the best home cooked meals I have ever had! Lextons family welcomed us with open arms. We ate, drank, watched American Football on TV and had a laugh. Quality day all round." John Crawley Hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving break everyone!