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Un messicano Ringraziamento

Megan Finneran | Saturday, December 3, 2011

I woke up on Nov. 24 at 7 a.m. to my mother throwing a pillow at me. This may seem like a normal Thanksgiving morning, but since I am abroad in Puebla, Mexico, it was anything but.

My mom arrived from Chicago on Wednesday afternoon to spend the Thanksgiving weekend together. We traded in the Macy’s Day Parade for a morning at my local hospital internship. As I had to tell my dad, this American holiday is largely ignored in nearly every other country in the world.

We spent Thanksgiving in the pediatrics unit, replacing our normal feast with deli turkey sandwiches for lunch and enchiladas with my host family for dinner. Luckily, the following day we experienced the real thing. Lisette Monterroso, our coordinator, had arranged a true Thanksgiving feast with the food cooked by us seventeen students. My mom and host mom spent the afternoon making stuffing and a turkey, communicating in something similar to a game of charades.

We pulled the turkey out of the oven just as the cab arrived. As one boy walked in with a green bean casserole slipping through his hands and girls ran to the kitchen with pans of turkey juice dripping down their dresses, I envisioned the nightmarish holiday movies I have seen.

As we welcomed our guests, everything fell into place. Notre Dame junior Nathan Lin delivered a presentation about the meaning of Thanksgiving. He compared us to the pilgrims and our guests to the Native Americans who welcomed us with open arms.

Then of course, we ate. Everyone secretly walked an extra half-step faster to the line in fears that all the food would disappear. But somehow, plenty of food remained. Many of our Mexican guests had never experienced a Thanksgiving celebration before, and they all seemed to enjoy themselves.

As I walked out to the car surrounded by my Chicago mom and my Mexican parents, I realized I had a lot to be thankful for this year. I may have missed sneaking pieces of turkey behind my grandma’s back and not experienced the snow that often accompanies a Midwestern Thanksgiving, but I helped bring a special day to a country that otherwise would not have experienced it.