Friday, November 29, 2013

Not so traditional Thanksgiving

Leading up to Thanksgiving, I was completely dreading the day. All I could think about was that it was Thanksgiving and I wouldn't be home to celebrate it. When Thanksgiving finally arrived, it didn't feel like it was a holiday. I went to school like every other day, but the teachers made an effort to incorporate Thanksgiving into the day. 

Every morning, the students pray to start their day. Instead of the Lord's Prayer, they found a Thanksgiving prayer and recited it for their morning prayer. My teacher asked me to have a conversation with my 6th graders about what Thanksgiving was and what it meant to Americans. Luckily, my boys are patient because I had to stop a few times to keep myself from crying. They were very interested in the holiday and had tons of questions for me!

The school prepared a "Thanksgiving" lunch for us. I have no idea where the received their information because the only thing that was typical Thanksgiving was the turkey and gravy. They also served home fries, a vegetable lasagna, and rice pudding. Though it wasn't a typical Thanksgiving meal, I was thankful that they tried to make an effort for us!

Shannon and her host family decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner for a few of us and their friends. However, dinner was not until 9:00pm (In Spanish culture, the adults usually eat at 9 or later at night). Before dinner, Brittany and I decided to spend time with each other. We walked back to the soccer stadium to get pictures of the training facility and house. 

We walked around the entire stadium in order to find the training house, but it was too dark. We could hardly see it. We happened upon the Barca museum. We could see statues and a billboard that we wanted pictures of. The gates were opened, but there was security everywhere so we casually walked through like we never where we were going and that we belonged there. Unnecessary measures, I'm sure! When we got closer to the stadium we got caught in the middle of some of Barca's new recruits running during their practice.  Barca recruits boys between the age of 10 and 12 to start in their program. Many join Barca's team or another European team when they get older. Some here said that about 14 of the 16 players came through the training program.  (don't fact check me on those numbers, I can't remember exactly. If was way over half of the team!) 

As we were leaving, everyone else in the area started heading towards a large charter bus. At first I assumed it was a tour group, but everyone started recording and taking pictures. Then I finally noticed the television crew. I started freaking out on the inside. "Was this Barca's team? Is this really happening?" Of course, I was struck down to Earth real quick. I realized that it was the soccer team. I didn't recognize anyone. Barca has a B soccer team and basketball team. Judging by the height, I assume it was the basketball team. 

Fast forward to dinner......

There were 9 people there for dinner. It was really great company. All of the Spanish people were so excited to experience their first thanksgiving. They all had lots of questions for us. When dinner finally began, Marc, the host father wanted everyone to go around the table to say what they were thankful for. I knew there was going to be some waterworks. I knew exactly what I was thankful for, but having to say it aloud was going to be hard. Finally my turn came around and just as I expected, the tears came.

I am thankful for my family back at home. I am thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving in Barcelona. With graduation quickly approaching, I am thankful for my education.

After that, dinner was great! 

We all laughed and shared interesting facts about our homes and lives. At the request of the Spanish guests, the Americans sang the National Anthem.  Acapella. Horribly. We could hardly keep from laughing to get through the song. After dinner, we danced the night away. For a few hours, I was able to forget how homesick and sad I was. It wasn't home, but it definitely felt like home. 

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