With so many Barnard students hailing from all over the country and the world, we asked a few of them what they had planned for this Thanksgiving….
Danah Screen ’15
Danah Screen ’15
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, followed by New Year’s Eve. It’s the time of the year when my grandmother whips out her secret recipes and I’m given the job of stirring the vat of deliciousness, but I have zero complaints. My little cousins are zipping around faster than the human eye can see. The men have an eggnog competition and the women catch up on the things that they love. I know for a fact that it is on this day that I laugh the most and I am probably at my happiest. I am a young woman who is very family-oriented and being with family, well there is no comparison.
This year for Thanksgiving I’ll be going upstate to Goshen, NY to my grandmother’s house. This has been the tradition for the last couple of years, but I love it because up there it is about 85% trees and 15% modern civilization (I have no idea if these percentages are accurate, but they are accurate in my heart). Though I am “techie” and I love to tinker with metal and dabble in the sciences, my favorite place is outdoors. Up there we have had a baby otter swim in the pool with us, does (female deer) walk up to the windows, and various birds make their homes on the roof. I love it. For me, it feels how Thanksgiving should be: super cold outside, but cozy on the inside with laughter to be heard from miles away and each year we pick a different movie for the family to watch together after we eat such as The Hunger Games. What has me even more excited for this year is that I will probably be bringing a friend with me to experience what the Screen family is all about. My friend, a fellow Barnard senior, is an international student and for her to travel home would be a 25-hour flight. This limits her choices on what she can do during this extended weekend. She is also my suitemate and I know that she originally planned to spend her break alone in the suite (the other members of my suite are from the USA and are travelling back home to their families). So this year, she will be coming upstate with me to have Thanksgiving with my family and learn where I get my charisma and energy from. I am really excited and seeing that this is my last Thanksgiving as a Barnard student, I don’t think I could have made it a better one.
Julia Qian ’15
Julia Qian ’15 (third from the left)
Hello hello, Happy Thanksgiving :)I am Julia and I am an international student from China. In the midst of busy celebration, I want to set aside some time to share the excitement and joy of the holiday with you. As a senior, I have spent each break very differently because there are millions of things to do on campus and in NYC. You will soon discover, as Barnard students, we not only take our school work seriously, but breaks as well. :)
On Tuesday night, I am going to a Thanksgiving dinner with my bible study group. It is a free dinner celebration hosted by several religious groups at Columbia. On Wednesday, I am going to watch Interstellar with my friend, who is graduating from Columbia College early, so I want to spend as much time with her as possible before she leaves. Thursday will be a busy day for me. My host family from California is flying to New York for a family reunion. I am invited to their family brunch at 11am. I have known them since my first visit to the States when I was 15, so they are basically my second family. Then in the afternoon, I will try to swing by Harvard club where my Barnard alumna mentor is hosting a Thanksgiving lunch. She is truly my New York mom who has been taking care of me over breaks and mentored me every step along the way. That night, I am visiting my friend Pascale at Long Island. We met in French class the first semester after I transferred to Barnard and we have been friends ever since. I am excited about her mom’s rice and beans, and Pascale promised me that she will make my favorite pumpkin pie with handmade whip-cream. Yum! I might hit the mall on Saturday to shop for some gifts for my parents that I could bring back home over winter break. Sometime during this break, I will somehow magically manage to finish my thesis proposal (life of a senior) and catch up with meetings. Phew… that is a brief overview of my Thanksgiving break. If my Thanksgiving plan sounds exciting to you, I can only tell you that college life is ten times more exciting and fulfilling. Can’t wait to share these experiences with you!
Millie bear hug,
Triana Kalmanoff ’15
Triana Kalmanoff ’15
I’m from California, and it’s a bit to far to fly home and back for such a short break– particularly with finals looming in the not-distant-enough future–so I’m staying on campus for Thanksgiving. This year I’m continuing a tradition I started three years ago. A bunch of my friends who are also staying in NYC for the holiday will be spending it in my Barnard dorm. We combine resources and buy all our groceries on Wednesday, and then spend all day Thursday making a full-on traditional Thanksgiving meal. In the past two years we’ve made a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, squash, and pumpkin and apple pies! We then proceed to eat our meal for the entirety of that weekend. While in the past, our guest-list has included friends from out of town, this year I will be joined by my high school friends: a student at NYU, a student at Circle in the Square Theater Conservatory, and two friends who work as artists in Brooklyn. While most of us were used to Thanksgiving at home, “Friendsgiving” has become a new tradition for us. Home is where the pie is, so this year we will be spending it with loved ones and good food. What could be better?
Mamma Yaa Buckman ’15
Maame Yaa Buckman ’15
This thanksgiving I’m headed to Dallas, Texas, to spend the holiday with my mom’s friend and her lovely family. Within the Ghanaian culture, the notion of family extends to anyone with any remote connections to members of a family. So I’m excited to spend this holiday with my new family in Texas and my brother who’ll be celebrating his first Thanksgiving! I do not have any specific plans about places to see whilst I’m there but it should be lots of fun! I spent my first two Thanksgivings with one of my best friends from Ghana at her aunt and uncle’s home in New Jersey. They always laid out an amazing spread. Last Thanksgiving, I studied abroad in Copenhagen and the program wanted to ensure the “Americans students” did not feel left out so they organized Thanksgiving celebrations with a turkey. This year is definitely tied with an adventure as Dallas is a new city and it’s my first Thanksgiving with an American family! The thought of how quick people are to open their homes and hearts always fills my heart with gratitude.
Shezza Dallal ’16
On the last Thursday of November, a holiday titled “Thanksgiving” falls upon the whole of the United States. Campuses, workplaces, and dormitories are left virtually empty, Instagram feeds are inundated with photographs of piles of Turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pies, and everyone is suddenly overwhelmed by thankfulness for their families, friends, loved ones at large, and general circumstances. When you’re an international student, this might not come naturally to you; in fact, you’ll most probably spend a full month trying to figure out how you’re going to navigate this holiday when your home is by no means close enough to travel to for a total of 4 days, you lack a history of practicing the giving of thanks en masse on a random day in November, and don’t have a large and generously supplied kitchen to test making your own Turkey if all else fails.
Shezza Dallal ’16
My first Thanksgiving at Barnard, I was lucky enough to find a home in my uncle and aunt’s house in Connecticut. So, while everyone shuffled home to see their parents, I set off on the Metro North train to my relatives’ lovely house in Wilton, Connecticut. I’d successfully figured out what to do with myself, but Thanksgiving still didn’t come naturally. My maternal grandmother was American and she had always capitalized on this holiday—insisting that, despite all the stress cooking for two (sometimes three) days caused her—this was a duty of hers. This tradition came to a sweet end in my middle school years, and I had since somewhat forgotten what Thanksgiving was supposed to look like. It didn’t take long for me to feel a renewed sense of victory in the “Navigating US Customs and Holidays” game I was playing with myself.
Here’s the secret: like most holidays, it’s primarily about the Gravy, followed by the turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and family. If you know how to quickly put yourself into a food coma and enjoy it, you’re set. You don’t need to go all the way home to get that type of experience and you don’t have to be a die-hard American patriot to enjoy some pie. I found relatives who were happy to spoil me for the weekend and, my sophomore year, I brought another international friend, who didn’t have that same luxury, home to my relatives’ house as well. Some friends took advantage of empty dorms to invite their High School friends over for the weekend and explore NYC in peace, and some took advantage of the extra time to start studying for finals. You can’t miss what you never had but there’s no harm in trying it out either.