Thanksgiving serves as a longing reminder of distant family

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Photo contributed by Hannah Ratcliffe ’22

Thanksgiving, usually a holiday representing family and unity, is seen as more of a melancholy and reflective day for those with international families.

Hannah Ratcliffe ’22, Web Arts Editor

When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of all the fun, unique traditions that the holiday is full of: breaking the turkey wishbone, eating cultural foods, playing American football and more. Nonetheless, each of these traditions share one similar characteristic: family. 

When students are asked about their Thanksgiving plans each year, the first thing that is mentioned is who will be joining them at the dinner table. However, not all of us have the luxury to simply hop in the car to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, making the day much more yearning and nostalgic.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving. Unlike many of my peers, my family lives approximately 8200 miles away in South Africa, a country where Thanksgiving is a non-existent holiday. While I appreciate my family’s rich culture and second home, I always wish things were different when Thanksgiving rolls around each year.

While I appreciate my family’s rich culture and second home, I always wish things were different when Thanksgiving rolls around each year.”

— Hannah Ratcliffe ’22

Due to the long distance and more recently COVID-19 travel restrictions, I haven’t been able to see my grandparents, aunts,uncles or cousins in almost four years, so hearing about the casualness surrounding my peers’ Thanksgiving plans breeds a jealousy inside me that I wish I didn’t have to feel. A single phone call cannot nearly do justice to a personal presence, and I find myself wishing things were different year after year.

While I always spend my Thanksgivings with my family friends and their family, who have welcomed us with open arms, I lack the emotional connection and attachment to the holiday that so many of my peers hold. I used to blame my dislike for Thanksgiving on the food or the busy time of year, but I now realize that a major aspect of the day has and will always be missing for me.

Thanksgiving just serves as a reminder that I will never truly experience a typical family dinner in the way my peers do. For some, it may seem like a guarantee to have family gathered around the table, but for me, it is a fantasy.