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Thanksgiving from the Other Side of the World

Dec 2, 2014 9:27:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Emily Kyle is one of CAPA’s Official Bloggers for Fall 2014, sharing her study abroad story in weekly CAPA World posts. A UCLA student, she is studying abroad in Florence this term.

In this week's post, Emily shows us what it's like to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving with her Italian host family abroad and shares a few of the things she's most thankful for in life.

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Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Or as they say in Italy (rarely because it’s not a thing here), Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento!

This Thanksgiving was a very special one indeed.

And while I wasn’t able to enjoy this holiday in the presence of my family, as is the customary mode of celebration in the States, I was able to share and extend this tradition of giving thanks to my family abroad. And this is something too special for words.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Fall2014_Emily Kyle celebrates Thanksgiving with her host family
Photo: La nostra famiglia bellissima

Thanksgiving is about bringing people together. It’s about bringing people together, recognizing the commonality of the bonds that we share, and appreciating the overly abundant good in life. Because we all have an overwhelming amount of things in our lives to be thankful for, but we don’t always succeed in pausing for a moment of reflection in order to recognize this.

The function of this holiday is to lend us the perspective that we need to realize how fortunate we truly are, for life is too short and too precious to be expended without appreciation.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Fall2014_Emily Kyle celebrates Thanksgiving with her host family1Photo: Marzia and Gaia helped us Americans prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Fall2014_Emily Kyle celebrates Thanksgiving with her host family2Photo: Cookin’ up a storm

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Fall2014_Emily Kyle celebrates Thanksgiving with her host family3Photo: Gaia, Marzia, and Babbo

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Fall2014_Emily Kyle celebrates Thanksgiving with her host family4Photo: And then after seeing her big sister do it, of course Gaia had to too (‘Anche io, anche io!’ in her adorable little munchkin voice)

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Fall2014_Emily Kyle celebrates Thanksgiving with her host family5Photo: Now how’s that for a Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, buonissimo

I could write a book on all of the things that I’m thankful for.

My heart fills with a warm rush of gratitude when I think about the beautiful things in life.

I’m thankful for the sun and for the trees and for my mind and my body and I’m thankful for the elderly woman who always gives me my food at the bakery and my host parents and my real parents and I’m thankful for this city and this country and this world.

I’m thankful for the people in my life that give me joy, from my closest friends to strangers that smile at me on the street.

I’m thankful for my freedom.

I’m thankful for my ability to take on the world and my conviction to suck out the marrow of life.

And I cannot express how thankful I am for this incredible study abroad experience I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take advantage of over the past few months.

And as it (way too quickly) begins to draw to a close, I’m thankful for the people I love who are eagerly waiting to welcome me into their arms upon my return home. And I’m thankful for the new family and home that I’ve made for myself here in Florence—may it forever remain, in my memory, in my heart, and in my future.

Thanks Emily!

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Topics: Official Bloggers and Vloggers, Florence, Italy