Thanksgiving as a foreigner

(vous pouvez lire cet article en français ici)

Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving! When you are not from the US, it’s easy not to upset your boyfriend’s family, no fight over “are we going to spend it with your family or mine” etc. Once and for all, France does not have Thanksgiving. Neither does Germany. Or India. Only the US.

So, Thanksgiving is a new tradition for me. I could talk about all the questions that it brought to me, like “why do I have to celebrate a massacre?” but now that I answered all those questions on my own, I’d rather talk to you about my three questions.

What do I have to wear?

When they say “family holiday”, do they mean “family holiday” or “family holiday”? Is it like a Christmas day, when I have to dress up? Or like a game day, where I would paint my face in turkey colors? Should I get a sparkling dress or come in sweat pants? What does “casual” really mean? Let’s hope that jeans and sweater are casual enough.

What should I cook?

My French friend Anna asked me “should I bring wine?” How else could I answer this question that by saying “if you want to be a cliché, sure, do!”

So, should I bring an appetizer? But people here don’t really do appetizer at family meals. Should I make some biscuits and gravy, that, fyi, I never ate before, or some cranberry sauce? But people are already doing that. What about a dessert? What kind of dessert? Holala! I wish it was as easy as my friend said, just a bottle of wine!

You mean, with your family for a whole day?

I love my boyfriend’s family. There’s only one thing: they all speak English. Even though I’ve been in the US for more than a year now, that I know this family and that I speak a fairly good English, it’s always hard to be in the middle of people you have to impressed when you don’t speak the same language. Imagine being there, trying to get some people to like you and having to think, minute after minute “wait, what did I just say, do they know what I’m talking about, I think my accent is terrible!”

Could it be worse? Yes. We had an early Thanksgiving dinner and I asked a friend if she wanted me. In front of my boyfriend’s family. Poom poom poom… I promise it was actually not what it sounded like. Well, that’s my Thanksgiving fear!

Did you notice the materialist order of my questions? No, I’m really not proud


Happy Thanksgiving!


About Leslie Is Hungry

I’m a French student who decided to stay in the US when she was supposed to go back. Here is my experience as a non-exchange student, as a foreigner, as a woman, as an intern. Welcome to the Amerifrench life!
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2 Responses to Thanksgiving as a foreigner

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving, jour des dindes | Leslie Is Hungry

  2. Lance says:

    Canada does Thanksgiving as well, albeit a month and a half earlier, but with many of the same trappings, food-wise. Not quite the same traditions other than that, but it’s a nice family holiday that seems designed to make you point out to yourself all of the things in your life you’re thankful for or happy about.

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