What are you thankful for? This was the repetitive question during Thanksgiving. I don’t want to know your answer, but I can tell you that on the 24th of November I was thankful for the Thanksgiving break.
Thanksgiving doesn’t exist in Italy. Actually, it doesn’t exist anywhere in Europe. The reason is simple: European pilgrims came to the U.S., not the opposite. No one discovered Europe; the dinosaurs were the first inhabitants of the continent, and that’s pretty much it. We didn’t even have Indians — the nearest thing to Indians were probably the prehistoric men.
What I understood during Thanksgiving Day is that Americans don’t celebrate the arrival of the pilgrims. Instead, they celebrate the idea of family. In fact, during the day of thanks everyone sits around the kitchen table: parents and children, cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents.
Sometimes there are intruders (like me) who want to enjoy American traditions and explore them. I explored this purely American celebration and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed watching families spend time together, because everyone is usually running and no one has the time to stop. I enjoyed watching people arguing about how to make the turkey: lemon or orange, spices or no spices?
I enjoyed cooking, too. Yes, you may not believe it, but I cooked. I cooked Italian pasta with American ingredients — the hardest thing ever! Don’t ask me if it was good or not because I’m not a modest person. People ate it, and they are still alive, so it wasn’t poisoned. People gave me good feedback, but maybe they were just trying to be nice and polite.
Moreover, during the break I experienced another typical American tradition: Black Friday.
You know you survived Black Friday only if you have the energy to jump in your bed and take a nap after some crazy hours spent around shops. My alarm clock woke me up at 3:30 a.m., which should be sleeping time more than shopping time!
One hour later, my friends and I were about to enter the first shop. It was still dark, there were no stars in the sky and I started to feel like an alien who had landed in a desert. The people who were still sleeping in their houses were not strange, I was strange for driving in the early morning to go shopping!
After the third store I saw a miracle: dawn. The sun appeared as a vision, and it almost burnt my skin because I had become a vampire. I was a vampire full of plastic bags in my hands.
So, I was and I am still thankful for Thanksgiving break because I had the chance to experience my adoptive country, and because I was someone else at least for two days: a vampire chef.