Growing up, Thanksgiving was a quiet holiday. The only time something exciting happened was when I sliced my finger peeling potatoes—I still have a scar and therefore, refuse to ever cut potatoes. All my family lived in Indiana or Florida—we were the black sheep of the family all the way in sunny California. It was just the four of us, but my mom still cooked all the usual Thanksgiving fixings. It was tradition to have a big breakfast, go see a movie, and then come home for the main event. We would argue and discuss the movie choices for weeks in advance. We spent the rest of the weekend decorating the house for Christmas and watching a lot of TV.
When I was in college, Thanksgiving break was always a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, it was the first time of the school year that all schools have off at the same time. Depending on if you were at a school that went by semester or terms, everyone had Thanksgiving off. Not many people would go on vacation because you only had such a short time at home. You would always make an effort try to find time within those four or five days to reunite with friends you haven’t seen since the summer. Some friends would make plans for Black Friday shopping, other would maybe choose that time to exchange early Christmas gifts. One of my best friends would hold a house party on that Friday or Saturday for all of us to get together, sometimes seeing people you hadn’t seen in months.
On the negative side, it was so short. Going to school out of state, it was such an ordeal. My first Thanksgiving going home felt like I was right out of the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I took a bus to the train station, hopped on a train to Portland—okay, this kind of felt like I was on the Hogwarts Express, not gonna lie—then took a taxi to the Portland Airport and then finally got on my flight to LA, just to turn around and do it all over again four days later. After that first year, I had my car with me and my friends and I drove up to Portland the Tuesday before, had a slumber party with fun Christmasy movies, and then I flew home the next day, leaving my car at my friend’s house—much easier. That first break of the term felt like such a sigh of relief. It usually fell on Week Eight of our ten-week term, so it was nice to relax a little before diving into finals and last minute projects. Leaving early in the morning on that Sunday, all I could think about was that I had just a few more weeks before a month-long winter vacation.
Now that we’re older, friends have their own families. People are married, have babies. My friend that used to throw the house parties went to two dinners this year: one for her family and one for her boyfriend’s. This year felt weird and different. We’ve only been in our house a few months. My dad’s best friend/step-brother (long story) came and stayed a few days, meaning they watched a lot of football and fooled around like teenagers. It was the first year in I don’t know how long that we didn’t go to the movies. My sister stayed in California because she was working and will be coming in a few weeks for Christmas. The food was all the same but it all felt different. I think I’ve entered this new phase of adulthood and it didn’t really hit me until this past weekend.
I hope you all had a lovely holiday.