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My First Thanksgiving

It has been around three months since I arrived in the United States, and I'm still always excited to experience new things, especially those exclusive to America, adding to my long list of firsts. Last week, my new first was celebrating Thanksgiving in the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina.

On the beautiful Thanksgiving morning, my friends and I headed to a sunny, cold beach on Sullivan’s Island. Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, we relaxed and hung out on the beach, a rather unusual way to kick off Thanksgiving.

It was our excuse to try something different before each of us headed off for our more standard celebrations. We took advantage of the strong wind that morning by flying kites, while munching on snacks along the way, among other things.

Later that day I embarked on my first traditional American Thanksgiving meal. I had the pleasure of joining my friend Orlin and his family, along with another friend.

Orlin’s family were ever the gracious hosts, pampering us with continuous flow of delicious food. From the appetizers in the afternoon to the main course in the early evening, we were filled to the brim, leaving no hint of space in our stomachs.

My favorite part of the evening was definitely the turkey and the cornbread stuffing. One helping was just not enough and I certainly did not stop there. Orlin’s mum is an incredible cook and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of her cooking and baking.

I learned that the conventional Thanksgiving cannot go by without pumpkin pie, so Orlin’s mum bought a piece for us to try, but it was her amazing homemade pecan pie that kept me going back to the kitchen for more.

Thanksgiving is not only known for its excessive amount of food, leaving its leftovers for the days or even weeks to come, however.

I later learned from friends that “Thanksgiving” originated from an act of gratitude by the voyagers who received care from native Indians when they first arrived in the United States during the 17th century. Five hundred years later, it has evolved into an eminent holiday exclusive to the Americas, celebrated in its full glory each year.

It is also a time of the year in which everyone returns home for a time of fellowship. Orlin was not the only one returning home from college, as his sister was also home for the weekend, returning from Ohio. I am truly grateful to Orlin for allowing me to spend my first Thanksgiving in the company of his warm family.