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What did you give thanks for this year?

December 11, 2012

By Alžběta Polončeková, CCI Academic Year participant and Greenheart Club Member from the Czech Republic living in Colorado

I like days off school. Even more, I like days off school that have meaning to them. And giving thanks? Well, that’s a great meaning behind something. Sometimes people forget how important it actually is to say thank you. And getting together with family and eating good food to remember it? This might be my favorite holiday!

Thanksgiving is the true American experience for us exchange students.

Most of us exchange students have not celebrated this American holiday. What did we experience then?

  • Baking with family. Cookies, yum!
  • Eating good food, yum again!
  • Meeting a lot of family members. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot there’s never been this many of my family members together for one holiday.

Black Friday commercials – I was so excited when the presidential pre-election run finally ended, but the TV just transferred into another crazy thing. Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving Day that all shoppers wait for. The sales are said to be amazing and so are the crowds of people. Ironically, Black Friday is “The day without shopping”, or “Buy nothing day”, in the UK – but not here!

And if you don’t get enough shopping on Black Friday, you can always enjoy on-line shopping on Cyber Monday. Black Friday is famous worldwide. Even my friend from back home told me before I even came to the US “You need to go shopping on Black Friday; I’ve heard they have the coolest sales”. They sure do, but we decided to avoid the crowds. If you like standing in line for a few hours, this is the day for you!

But, that’s not what should be important about Thanksgiving. It’s the act of giving thanks. We sometimes forget how thankful we should be and we tend not to appreciate things and consider them ordinary. Often times we don’t even realize how lucky we are. Just recently, I watched a movie called Life is beautiful. This movie revolves around a little boy and his father, who are taken to the concentration camp on the boy’s birthday. As any other Word War II movie, this made me cry and more importantly think about how happy we should be for what we have these days because we have everything we need.

Right now, staying here in America we are living the time of our lives and there are so many things to be thankful for. That’s the whole point I wanted to make with this little post. Just make you stop and think for a while. What are you thankful for? And did you show what you were thankful for?

We have two families who love us and support us – our families back home and our new families. Every day we can see they care about us.

Nowadays, we have the modern technologies in favor of us so that we can stay in touch with our families and friends. We already have a bunch of friends here who were nice enough to let us join their friend groups. We have nice teachers, who want to teach us. We have enough food so that we don’t have to worry in the morning if there’s going to be enough. We have warm beds, cozy blankets and soft pillows.

I wanted to end this with my very personal experience.  I hate mornings, it takes me a long time to start working properly and I always wish I could stay in a bed a little longer. On the other hand, I appreciate every new morning. Why? I have a friend who suffered from cancer back home. She’s younger than me and she’s doing alright now. But I remember one day when I said “I hate mornings”. Her response was “I love mornings and I even look forward to them. When I wake up in the morning, it means I will live for another day.”

My friends—embrace your lives and go hug your loved ones. Be thankful as much as you can and remember that not everyone was lucky enough to live in the same comfort that you do. Enjoy your year!

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