Guest Post: Parisian Thanksgiving

November 25, 2010

As you guys all know, today is Thanksgiving— or as it is crudely translated into French, le jour de l’action de grâce. This is my first Thanksgiving in all 21 of my Thanksgivings that I have been away from my family, which is kind of a big deal! I mean, we ARE talking about my favorite holiday here. Good food, good conversation, good company (and endless laughs!) — it’s a lot to be away from. BUT, from my little corner of the world here in Paris, I still have a lot of things to be thankful for, so we’re going to do this blog post up Thanksgiving-style today.

In a list comme toujours:

1) I am thankful for my French class. It is full of some of the nicest people I have ever met. I was greeted today with a bunch of smiles— those who had heard of Thanksgiving before wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, and those who hadn’t promptly asked what Thanksgiving was and THEN wished me a Happy Thanksgiving! They were all so sweet about it. My French teacher (who is AWESOME, by the way) and several of my friends in my class all asked what I was doing to fête the holiday— or celebrate the holiday. I love knowing that I get to see these faces every day in class. And it’s kind of sad thinking I only have three more weeks with them. Let’s make the most out of those three weeks!

2) I am thankful that I got my 12+ page architecture term paper finished, and all in French at that. End of semester assignments are stressing me out a little (no more than usual, but I just gotta put my head down, plow through, and get them done) and it is a huge weight off of my shoulders to know that I am finished with the first of two of my term papers. This will make it much more enjoyable next week when my parents visit! Which brings me to…

3) I am thankful that my parents are coming to Paris next week! And I am thankful that the O’s are making the trip to come see us on Friday. I cannot tell you how excited I am to spend time with all of them, I’ve been looking forward to this so incredibly much and it is now just around the corner! We’re gonna hang in Paris on Thursday and Friday, and then Mom, Dad, and I are getting out of the city for the weekend and going to Chartres and the Loire Valley. It’s gonna be sooo good.

4) I am thankful that people take time to think of me and send me letters/cards/postcards while I’m in Paris. Continuing the picture series with the latest, this time from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Margaret!

Thanksgiving card and postcard of the Eiffel Tower from the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas!

5) I am thankful that, even though I’m in Paris, making friends and memories, I’m able to talk to my friends and family from home pretty frequently. I am thankful that I still get to goof around with my brothers (given, basically all through Facebook) and that the distance hasn’t kept me from talking to some of my friends as frequently as almost every day. I am thankful that I was able to call through to the family Thanksgiving extravaganza today, despite a frustratingly bad connection. And I am thankful that they’re having a great time!

6) I am thankful for AIFS, the company coordinating my study abroad. I am thankful that they put on a DELICIOUS dinner for us tonight and filled us up with traditional Thanksgiving food cooked à la française. We ate in a little French restaurant, and J and A took the time to make and to put up a few Thanksgiving decorations! It was so cute. The table was set beautifully, they even sprinkled rose petals along the table as decorations. I am thankful that I got to spend Thanksgiving evening with some great friends.

7) I am thankful for emails. I am thankful that friends and family are taking the time to write to me and keep me updated on their days/weeks/months/lives. I am thankful that I don’t feel as out of touch with the things I care about in the States as I thought that I might. I am thankful that there are people thinking of me while I think of them.

8) I am thankful that I am able to take this semester to experience things and live lives that I’m not able to in my day-to-day life in the States. There are so many things in Paris that I’ve never taken the time to appreciate in Chicago and that are just plain lacking in Williamsburg. The art scene, for one. Art is something that I truly enjoy, and you’re not going to find it in Williamsburg, and I’ve never taken advantage of what Chicago has to offer in terms of art. I am thankful that I get to travel here and see the world. I’ve been American for 21 years of my life. Now it’s time to (try to) experience being European. I am thankful that I get to reconnect with my American friends in Europe. I am thankful that AIFS took us to the Orangerie last Monday to see Monet’s Water Lilies. They were gorgeous, I could have stayed for hours. I am thankful that I get to work on my French. Becoming fluent in French and becoming fluent in Italian are two of the things on my 30 Before 30 list— and I’m well on my way to one of those!

On that note, Happy Thanksgiving!

Kirstie Brenson came to William & Mary by way of Chicago, and is majoring in Government with a minor in Economics.  When not immersed in a book (usually Fitzgerald or Kerouac), obsessively listening to Kanye, tuning in to current events, or watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she can be found reminiscing about her Parisian adventures and plotting ways to return.  Kirstie plans to attend law school, and hopes to pursue a career in a law or politics-related field. Read more about her time in Paris at la vie parisienne.


About International W&M

The Reves Center for International Studies promotes, develops, and supports the global dimensions of learning, teaching, research, and community engagement at the College of William & Mary
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