Thanksgiving is a big holiday here. First of all because of its historical importance (controversial as it might be). It is said that in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. Despite the fact that the history of today often ignores that contact between the two groups led to the decimation of millions of Native peoples this holiday is still celebrated today with the classic combination of Food, Family and Football.
As a newcomer to almost all things American, I must say Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so far. The food is spectaucular and plentiful. The company is merry. I had my first taste of Thanksgiving this year with a friend from my Middle Eastern Studies Class, a resident of Maine who managed to convince two of us poor Brown Freshmen living far away from home that this holiday was better spent in his home state. For those who are not familiar with this beautiful state, it is in the north-east New England region. It is undoubtedly one of the most naturally beautiful places I have seen in my life.
Maine also happens to be one of the
freezing colder places in the US. It welcomed me with snowfall on Wednesday morning, the first I have of my life. Noone had warned me that snow falling would be such a brutal experience. I walked out of the house with nothing but tennis shoes and when I walked back in only about 45 minutes later, my feet were an almost numb solid, with some of my toes actually physically stuck together. On the second day, I was more prepared (so I thought) I brought out my snow boots and went for my first sledding experience.
That went well enough.
At the end of it, all my body parts were functional and maintained some sense of feeling in them. We did however, decide to go to the water (the house is about two block away from the waterfront). I got so excited at the sight of water in its non-solid state ie NOT SNOW that I put my feet in the water and got my feet wet. And now I had no boots and a bad case of sneezing (from the cold that had now permeated to my bones and possibly my soul).
The actualization of good food after months of sometimes just terrible dining food was enough to distract me from my weather troubles.
The fact that I was seated close enough to wood stove definitely helped (my hosts had heard of my non affinity to cold and had graciously placed me in the right spot. Meeting different people and being allowed to share in family/friends experiences is definitely one of the better ways to get to know the culture of a people.
For exmple, I know that if you live in Maine, you barely need a refrigerator, just pop your beverages in the snow and you’re good to go. I also learnt that you should never waste an opportunity for a good pun.
I am really thankful to my amazing friend and his wonderful family for this beautiful experience; Snow, sneezes and all.