Thanksgiving During My Life in the U.S.

Episode 31 – Thursday, November 26th, 2015 (6904)

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Although right now I’m not in the United States (living in the Philippines by the way), I just still celebrate a holiday that most of my friends in the U.S. celebrate every fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving is one of the federal holidays in the U.S. and has been a rich history. There are parades, watching football games, and of course, eating a nice turkey (not a country, ah! Hehehe!) And because of this occasion, I just want to share about my experience to celebrate Thanksgiving while I was in U.S. 11 years ago.

(I just make my story short because I’m so late to write this episode to be published very quickly on Thanksgiving Day! Hehehe!)

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In November 2004, I was a foreign exchange student during that time, studying in a deaf school, Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) in Talladega. I came at school a day before Thanksgiving break which was lasted up to one week, and most of ASD students were wearing their favorite college football team rivals – Alabama Crimson Tides and Auburn Tigers because these teams would play on the next day (the Tigers won that game, I remember). On that day, I was preparing for a cultural presentation which was required by an exchange program to learn about my home country to my beloved classmates and friends in school. And because my foster (host) mother is a Filipina, she provided me some of her materials from the Philippines such as map, a Philippine flag, some souvenir items, magazines about our home country and Philippine money. On the presentation, I was wearing national costume which is Barong Tagalog. Right before lunch time, I was ready to discuss most of ASD students about my beloved country – the Philippines using the PowerPoint presentation that I made.

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It’s me (at the middle) with my English teacher, Lynn Dunn and my foster (host) mother, Lyn Woolmaker, before the start of my cultural presentation at ASD Computer Laboratory. (Photo courtesy from Tent Archives, taken Nov. 19, 2004)

After the presentation, it was lunch time, and the menu was, of course, a fresh-cooked turkey in slices. This was my first time to eat turkey in my whole life, and I would eat some slices of turkey later on Thanksgiving. After lunch, I was about to go to my next class when my friend from Junior (Grade 11) named Abby asked me what football team would I choose. I told her that I just stayed neutral because I had no idea (during that time) about American football although I had watched ASD Football Team during Friday evenings.

During Thanksgiving week, I stayed whole day at Woolmaker’s house (I had stayed at ASD dorm during school days) to do some household jobs – cleaning, watering the garden, washing and ironing my clothes, and watching TV. And on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th, I and my foster family celebrated together in a Thanksgiving feast with some Filipino communities in Talladega, Alabama. This was simple yet significant Thanksgiving for our beloved Filipinos who had lived in Alabama for the long time because of treating some Filipino foods and singing some Filipino songs (I still remember that one man playing Spaghetti Song, a novelty song which was popular during early 2000s, making his kids to dance) that we had missed back at home.

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Well, that was a long, long time ago that I celebrated Thanksgiving while I was in the U.S. for the first and only time in my entire life. And every Thanksgiving (and also Christmas and New Year), I have always greeted my foster mother back in Talladega. I wish I can celebrate Thanksgiving for my own, but I can’t do this celebration at home because, at first, I’m a Filipino, NOT an American, of course; second, Thanksgiving is totally NOT an official holiday in the Philippines, and third there are only few turkeys around here (and they’re so experience, I think). But despite of these, Thanksgiving Day (in the U.S.) is now part of my life to celebrate and to thank God’s blessings.

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