• Travel and Culture
Posted November 11, 2019

Thanksgiving: My Favorite Holiday

Celebrating thankfulness with my host family

By Malene Møller Madsen

I only experienced Thanksgiving once during my time in the USA, but it was enough for me to fall in love with the whole concept of the holiday. It is not like Christmas where you celebrate, open presents, listen to Christmas music, and so much more. Christmas is a celebration of many things with many different elements. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is simply about being thankful to the people around you—and I, for one, have many things to be thankful for, especially when it comes to my American host family.

 

It is Thursday, November 24, 2016. My host family and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with our neighbors. We’re all sitting on the back porch with sunglasses and flip flops, looking at the lake and the people tubing on it. It is 86 Fahrenheit (30C) and we are just about to fill our bellies with delicious food. I am excited for the food that I am about to try for the first time, and I can’t wait for the big turkey to come out of the oven. I disappear into my own thoughts thinking about what I should be thankful for, and this is what comes to my mind …

 

I am thankful for:

  • The opportunity I got to become an au pair
  • Being in America
  • Getting to have this experience that not many people get
  • Every moment shared with my host family
  • My neighbors who are like a second host family to me
  • Everything I’ve learned so far as an au pair
  • What is waiting for me in the future
  • All the memories I have made
  • The stories I can tell for the rest of my life
  • The beautiful weather

 

And as I finally return from my thoughts, I look around and I smile—and I remember that I have so much more than that to be thankful for. The rest of the family shows up and we all gather around in a circle holding each other’s hands and we all get to say one thing that we are thankful for. As we were all standing there, I looked around and realized that I have never felt more at home. As it became my turn, I finally said, “I am thankful for my host family.” And it is true, because without them I would’ve never known all of these people—and if they had not chosen me during the matching process, who knows where I would’ve been? Because of them, I had the best year in my entire life—and because of their way of sharing love and hospitality, I now have someone to be longing to go “home” to. And by home, I mean where they are, namely Florida. Each year I look forward to going back and that honestly has to do with me missing them more than anything.

 

After our “circle of thankfulness,” it is finally time to eat. At the dinner table I found roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, Key lime pie, cornbread, green beans and so much more. For me, it was food that I wasn’t used to, but that did not keep me from taking a bite of it all! It was a delicious meal.

 

As it was the day before Black Friday, my best friend and I spent the evening shopping close by. It was such a wonderful day full of thankfulness, memories and love.

Thanksgiving is a holiday I will forever miss, but always cherish and hopefully one day will be able to share on my own.

 


Hi, I am Malene from Denmark. I was an au pair in Orlando, Florida from 2016-2017, where I had the time of my life. I have many memories from my au pair year that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Currently I am studying International Business Communication in Denmark.

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