One of the bittersweet moments of studying abroad was missing the celebration of Thanksgiving at home with my family. However, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to have Thanksgiving with new friends from both the United States and other countries. A German friend, who had never really heard of Thanksgiving before, decided that he would like to try it out while in Ireland. He purchased a whole turkey and used an old German Christmas turkey recipe to prepare it. His roommate prepared all of the other fixings such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy. We also shared dinner with a friend from France who had a hard time getting his head around the meaning of the holiday. He could not connect origin of Thanksgiving with the tradition of stuffing your face and watching American football. It was very interesting to see the German and French perspective on a holiday that is only celebrated in our country. They thought it was very American to celebrate an occasion by eating until you have to unbutton your pants. It was a great multicultural experience that I will most likely never take part in again. After dinner, we took our European friends to the pub to watch the Packers and Lions game. It must have been a treat for students from Germany and France to not only take part in a classic American tradition but also to watch the greatest team in football play on Thanksgiving. It really was a great experience for all of those involved.
Tom Mauthe is studying abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.