Ten Americans and Six Foreigners Sit in a Circle

Image“It feels like we are in a movie,” said Alessandro across the living room as he stabbed his fork into a giant piece of turkey. “We see this in the movies, but we never experience it. This is my first Thanksgiving.”

Alessandro is an Italian man that one of our classmates, in Italy, took time to make friends with over the last three weeks. He is sitting across the room from me. To my left, a woman from Israel is laughing. Next to her is an Englishman, and another Italian. Just past a light shade, that obstructs my view, is a German. If you take another look around our room, you might not only notice the foreign differences but also the age differences as well. A retired woman, born in America, who grew up in Canada, is sitting three spaces to my left while others in the room have just nearly hit 23. You might think we are sitting in a support group for diversity, but this is far from what is happening. This is our Thanksgiving—ten Americans, and five, eventually six people who have never celebrated the giant turkey in the middle of the table, the green bean casserole, or cranberry sauce (which go for 3.90 Euro each at the International Ingredient store) before.

Here we were, ten Americans, and six foreigners, doing exactly what our ancestors did when they first celebrated Thanksgiving: sharing a meal, sharing our thanks, and sharing our happiness. To continue a game of tag here: The wonderful Hannah wrote a piece about what Thanksgiving is truly about and what home is all about on her blog just a few days ago at just about the same time as a home piece I wrote (hence the game of tag we are playing via cyberworld). And this piece she wrote helped me to solidify the fact that everything she wrote is exactly true.

ImageThanksgiving is about the giving. As we all went around the room, sharing what we were thankful for, a common theme began to develop. “I am thankful for the fact that I am not homesick right now,” said a new good friend of mine. Another said, “I am thankful for the fact that we can all come together to do this…” and “I am thankful for L and J welcoming us into their home for this.” The women from Israel added “I am thankful for all the beautiful Italian men here,” and we all had a great laugh.

Thanksgiving is not always about being with family, but sometimes rather, about being with people who you never imagined your life with, but who have made it better in some way, shape, or form. As a few of us fell into a conversation, a good friend started to say, “I couldn’t imagine my life without you guys in it…Like it’s weirder to think of not knowing you than to think about not getting married.”

And he is right—it would be weird. It would be weird not to be sitting with all these people, taking in the moment, tearing up at the thought of how happy you are, and getting a clear picture of what thankfulness and happiness are all about. This year Thanksgiving wasn’t about how many servings you ate at dinner. It was about how many diverse people you could bring together in one room and turn into a family…a wonderful new and accepting family who may lose the ability to see one another each and every day next week: but who will always have this one memory—this one “Grazieful” memory.

In the word of the Italians: Salute!


Libby Segal is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island where she studied Communication Studies and Film Media. She has recently moved to Italy for eight months in to teach English as a second language. While in Italy, she keeps a blog chronicling her cups of cappuccino. <http://illtakeacappuccino.blogspot.com