How to celebrate Thanksgiving, Italian-style

2011-12-01T01:00:00Z 2011-12-01T20:52:37Z How to celebrate Thanksgiving, Italian-style The Southern
December 01, 2011 1:00 am

Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday. It is a time for giving thanks for all we have, for what and whom we love most and to celebrate the company of family and friends. There has always been a certain feeling about Thanksgiving that is so comforting and wonderful.

Just as I’m sure many of you have turkey-day traditions, my mom and I have a tradition of going to the movies every year, as it used to be just the two of us after my father left us when I was 10. I have so many fond memories of Thanksgivings together and this one was my first major holiday away from my family.

For me, I got homesick right when we first got to Europe and were adjusting to all the newness; however, I’ve been pretty all right with things, just enjoying the life here. It’s an interesting sensation too — with technology such as Skype and Gmail phone calling, most of the time it doesn’t even seem as though I’m an ocean away. It seems more like an average semester when I’m in California and my mom and stepdad are back in Southern Illinois.

Yet on Thanksgiving, when I was talking to my mom and stepdad, all of the wonderfulness of family and home came flooding back. It was probably the hardest day of being away yet.

Thanksgiving in Italy definitely is not like it is in the States. However, our study abroad program organized a Thanksgiving dinner with all of us students, as well as the teachers and Richmond faculty, at a very posh restaurant near Vatican City. The food was delicious and the atmosphere splendid.

We had a turkey dinner with an Italian twist, consisting of cranberry sauce and bread as appetizers, followed by a manicotti pasta dish and fried vegetables, a pasta dish that was out of this world, turkey and mashed potatoes and finally chocolate cake with thick whipped cream. Of course, we mustn’t forget that we also got both still and sparkling water, as well as both red and white wine. We ate like royalty and the restaurant was superb.

The fellowship, however, was better than anything. I am sure I was not the only one feeling the homesickness more than usual. Yet, being in the company of our friends, teachers and staff, somehow it felt like our Roman family.

We chatted with teachers and laughed with friends, and it was a wonderful evening filled with anything but loneliness. Everyone was dressed up in nice holiday attire and we even took class photos with our teachers. I cannot thank my program enough for putting that dinner on.

Talking with my mom and stepdad on Thanksgiving, I just felt as if I was home. I felt the ambiance of home, the crispness of a Thanksgiving afternoon, the coziness of a warm sweater and the taste of pumpkin pie. I saw my friends posting statuses about watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and it made me remember all the other Macy’s parades I’ve watched with my mom.

One thing about being abroad and just being away in general makes you really appreciate home even more than before. While I am also going to be away for both Christmas and New Year’s this year, I will be with my fantastic boyfriend and his family in Norway, which is going to be such an exciting adventure.

Then, after the whirlwind of European travel is over, I am so excited to go back home and see my mom, stepdad and two dogs. They’re even holding Christmas so we can have “second Christmas” when I’m home.

This Thanksgiving, as every Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my fantastic mom, who has done and sacrificed so much for me and for my wonderful stepdad, both of whom I love so dearly. I am also so thankful for my wonderful boyfriend of one year now. I have been truly blessed and feel so fortunate to call them all my family.

Buon fine settimana!

LACIE GOFF is the daughter of Janice Gualdoni and the granddaughter of Louie and Beauella Gualdoni, all of Herrin. Lacie is a junior at California Lutheran University in Los Angeles, majoring in communication and journalism. She is spending this semester in Rome, studying Italian, history and art history.

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