Many of the apartments that our fellow students live in are pitifully small. My roommate Kelsey and I, along with our flatmate Sofia, were extremely fortunate to get an apartment with a separate (huge) kitchen and living room, and so we decided back in October that for Thanksgiving we were going to invite all our friends over for a huge Thanksgiving dinner. I had been nervous about celebrating my first ever Thanksgiving away from my family, but my first ever “Friendsgiving” turned out to be one of the best Thanksgivings of my life.
About two weeks before the big event, Kelsey started a Facebook event where we would invite our friends. I already knew I wanted to invite my Swedish and German friends, Isolde and Mara, my friend from fencing, Catherine, and of course, all the members of the G-7—which is what we call the seven members of our Parisian American friend group (yes, we are all huge nerds). It consists of Kelsey, Leo, Pedro, and I, all of whom you met in my blog post on our vacation, and our friends Jason, who is a history major at UC Santa Cruz, Angelique, who was a political science major at University of Florida, and Sasha, another political science major from UC San Diego. They have truly become some of my best friends, even though we’ve only known each other for a relatively short time, and I hope we’ll continue to stay in touch even though we live (literally) all throughout the country.
We also invited some British friends from our history class, and a German-French friend of Kelsey’s from one of her classes. Everyone was to bring their own dish, so that it would be a potluck style event.
The big day started early. I had slept over at a friend’s the night before, and we went shopping for the ingredients needed for the item that they were making for our dinner, so I ended up not arriving at my own apartment until past 1 PM. Our friend Pedro, who was to cook the turkeys (there were two), had arrived at 11 AM, and Kelsey and I had spent the day before buying items like silverware and plates, and cleaning up the apartment. Pedro and Jason made the turkey and French onion soup, respectively, and they spent much of the time in the kitchen as I attempted to make our (normally messy) apartment presentable for visitors. At 5, I unfortunately had to go to class (with an American professor, nonetheless!), but my work was done. When I arrived back with Kelsey after class, I finished cleaning, and everyone started arriving around 8 PM. We had an eclectic mix of dishes—typical American food like the turkey, of course, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, apple crisp, etc., but also Mara’s Nutella cherry cake and Jason’s French onion soup.
The meal was delicious, and what was even better was getting to see most of the friends I had made while in Paris. After our meal, I made everyone go around, and say what they were thankful for—it was very cheesy and sappy, but for a great reason. I realized just how lucky I was to be in Paris, friends that I loved, dating someone I really liked, being able to travel all around Europe with little effort, studying in the best city in the whole world—and I said, truthfully, “I’m thankful for the happiness I’ve felt here—it’s probably the happiest I’ve ever felt.” I hope that everyone else had as great a Thanksgiving as I did!