In this post, CAPA Dublin blogger Sydney Smith talks about what it's like to be away from home during the holidays.
Think about all of the holiday traditions that your family may have set in place. Maybe you spend Thanksgiving at your grandparent’s house having a feast that includes all of the fixings or maybe you just spend Thanksgiving at home, of course still eating a huge meal, but rather it’s with your immediate family. Now imagine hearing about this holiday gathering coming up and being planned, but you’re unable to be part of it.
For many people in the CAPA program, being away during the holidays has been pretty difficult. Family members were calling each of us, sending us pictures of the food preparation and telling us how much they wish we were there. This is when homesickness kicks in. Of course it’s difficult to be away during the holidays, but thankfully (no pun intended) CAPA was there to help during Thanksgiving!
On Thursday, CAPA planned an incredible “friends-giving” and as traditional a Thanksgiving dinner as Ireland can serve for all of the students in the program. At 7 pm, we all met at a local café in a room reserved for just us. It was cozy and it started to feel a bit like home. The conversation was great and food was being served. We had all of the fixings such as turkey, ham, stuffing, and a lot of potatoes. The meal was finished off with a slice of pumpkin pie, of which I had two. Although the meal was served restaurant style and wasn’t the same as having three helpings of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and ham, it was still delicious.
Aside from the food resembling that of our American holiday, the atmosphere was perfect. We were all chatting together at our three long tables. Pictures were being taken and the room was filled with laughter. Stories of our own family traditions were being shared and it was refreshing to hear that other people were feeling the same way. We really were all in this together.
Once the meal was over, we were given the chance to stand up and say what we are all thankful for. It was a nice opportunity to thank the CAPA staff for all that they have done for us. (Susanne, Hayley and Darren, if you are reading this, thank you a million times over for all that you have done for myself and the other CAPA students during our time abroad. You three are what have made this experience so great and I don’t think I would be where I am now without you! Thank you for the many chats and lessons and for opening your arms and hearts to us crazy Americans!)
All in all, my Thanksgiving holiday was perfect this year. The Irish Craic was in full spirit as well as the mentality of giving thanks. I’m very thankful for my experience abroad and being able to spend my time with new friends that I’ll keep for a lifetime. When you’re able to be surrounded by wonderful people (and eat pumpkin pie), being away from home on the holidays isn’t so bad.
Sydney's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned!