Our Spanish Thanksgiving

Jackson Freeman
Universidad de Burgos, Spain
Major: Secondary Education English

On Thanksgiving Day we got dismissed from class a little early for having finished our exams before class was over. A few others finished before me and were chatting in the hall about how well they thought they did. I approached and said, “Guys, we need to plan something for Thanksgiving. I think we have the cafeteria reserved as our eating space but we still have to, you know, make food.” This concept, heretofore not yet discussed, was met with “Oh, damn, you’re right” expressions from the three outside. We were the only ones done with our exams; no other Americans had finished yet from either of the two testing rooms. “Looks like it’s up to us,” I said, perhaps a tad too dramatically. “I’ll head over to the market and see what I can find.”

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“We’ll come with you, “ volunteered Juan, Miguel, and Maddy. Together, we speed walked over to the market, about a mile away. The following few hours were a rush to purchase what food we thought we would need, me WhatsApping my host mother asking her if it was okay if we could use her kitchen to prepare our comida del Día de la Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving food), and actually cooking it. The kitchen was a maelstrom of smells, heat, and people as we struggled to get everything prepared for the dinner. The people at the cafeteria who were waiting for us were getting antsy because they only reserved it for so much time and that time had been overshot by an hour already. Luckily, Javi, the Chancellor Supreme of the Cafeteria, was kind enough to linger behind longer so we could celebrate this day that was clearly so important to us Americans.

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Just as we were packing up our fajitas, mashed potatoes, chips, drinks, and salads, reinforcements arrived outside my building to help us carry everything over to the University cafeteria. We hauled an entire Thanksgiving dinner, by hand, a whole mile before finally being greeted with the grateful and relieved welcome of those about to partake.

Aside from the mania instigated by the eleventh-hour preparation of everything, the dinner was a huge success. We were all contentedly munching our not-so-traditional fajitas with light conversation and laughter, and I even made a toast, thanking Javi and Pilar (the coordinator of our whole Burgos experience and the one who reserved us this space) for their patience and their excellence during our months in Burgos. While it was certainly not the most exquisite Thanksgiving banquet I have ever attended, it was definitely one of the most memorable and enjoyable.

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