Now that I’ve been here for a little while, settled in and what not, I think it’s a good time to start tackling some of the approaching issues that might come up for any American abroad or even a short flight from home like Rachel, Katie, and I are. We’re accustomed to our holidays, but living outside of the country can sometimes make celebrating them difficult. After all, no other country has Thanksgiving, and some of them might find the concept entirely foreign, especially when families get together for Sunday dinners anyway without the excuse of a holiday.
Thanksgiving here in Italy, I remember, is celebrated sporadically among the ex-pats and students as well as they can. Turkeys have to be ordered weeks in advance since Italians, from what I can tell, don’t exacatly go in for 5+ pounds of turkey meat for big family feasts. When I studied here, we managed fine enough on our own, having a potluck (with a turkey) and inviting as many of the students as possible that were still in the city. Since we couldn’t go home, we made do with who we had around us, and it was indeed an excellent night. The food was surprisingly good, having been cooked by numerous students who may have had very little cooking experience prior to coming abroad. We all drank, ate, and made merry late into the night before dispersing to home or clubs.
I’m hoping this year will be similar. Since it’d be silly to go home for so short a time (not to mention outrageously expensive), there’s been talk about having our own potluck of some sort. I’d be happy to cook anything for the chance to get together in a big group, but as always things are a bit scattered. No one has any plans as of yet, given it’s the beginning of October, but eventually someone will put his or her foot down, demand everyone come to one certain location, and organize an event. I really don’t want it to be me. Unless, of course, the school decides to put something together, in which case I’d be happy to help organize but that sort of event planning is beyond me at the moment. I can marshall forces, to be sure, but the leadership required to get a whole bunch of students who might have travel plans that weekend to come together is not something I want to take on for something like Thanksgiving!
Hand-in-hand with Thanksgiving comes Christmas, and goodness knows that coming home or going anywhere for Christmas is going to be a bit of a nightmare, logistics-wise. My parents would like to bring me home, but I’m a little unsure given the price of the tickets and the length of time I’d be at home. Twelve days seems far too short, even for Christmas, and I’m afraid I’ve been spoiled by a childhood of spending two months abroad as opposed to two weeks for around the same price. I’d like to come home, but as in everything, I need to confirm some dates before being able to give a firm answer. The school closes after finishing prep work for the spring semester and that could take up until the 20th/23rd of December, which seems to me a horrendous time to travel. I’m not sure when staff has to be back working for the spring semester, either, as students begin to arrive on the 6th of January and obviously you can’t get back to work on the same day a couple hundred people are confused and trying to get to their apartments after 20 or so hours of travel. Logistics suck.
That being said, should I come home, I have a list of things that I need to pick up before getting on the plane. No doubt my mother will want me to bring scarves, cheese, maybe some bracelets or other such things appropriate for international stocking stuffers. So much for traveling light! Then again, I’ve come to expect that. Heaven forbid I return home from Italy without goodies to prove that I was there!