Darden hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for all of us international students earlier this week. It was my first ever thanksgiving in the US and I was understandably excited. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t about the food (and I’ll tell you why in a bit). The things I associated with Thanksgiving were all the movies where the family gets together and some embarrassment or feud ensues and of course the thanksgiving episodes from Friends! I wanted to create my own Thanksgiving memory – secretly I was hoping for drama, but hey, the real Thanksgiving is tomorrow so all is not lost yet!
The food now… aah what can I say! I’ve gone vegetarian since I got to the US this time – the last time I was here I was feasting on chicken and I think I overdosed on the stuff. Plus this time I had to listen to a really long lecture from the parents before I got left India about the virtues of vegetarianism – all of which I agree with, mind you – and I met some really vegetarian people too (there is vegetarian and then there is really vegetarian, trust me, I’m not making this up) to serve as inspiration. So I figured I might as well try going green, after all green is the new black (though the currency markets might think differently). Phew I’ve said all of that so now I can say this: I ate the turkey at the Thanksgiving dinner. Relief!
I wanted to experience the real deal, all of the authentic Thanksgiving food. So there was turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie… it was at Abbott and needless to say, it was lip smacking delicious. Add to that the fun company of Denise Karaoli from the Office of International students and a bunch of internationals from my class and you had all the ingredients for a fantastic evening where I almost forgot about the 3 cases I had due for the next day. Oren and I agreed that skipping learning team that night was not going to hold too heavy on the conscience, so we did!
I suppose on Thanksgiving you feel thankful for being where and who you are, for your family and for all the good in your life. My family is far away in India and I don’t need Thanksgiving to feel grateful for having them in my life. Not a day goes by when I don’t miss my folks. But this Thanksgiving, I was especially thankful to my new extended family – all the people I have met at Darden. I am thankful for just being here. If someone had told me back in February when I’d visited the Ville to interview, that I would come back here for school, I would not have believed them. I fell in love with the school but also realized that there were other more accomplished people who deserved to go here. I am thankful that I am here today, calling this place home and sharing it with so many talented and wonderful people. My classmates never cease to awe me and there are some classes where I am sitting, amazed at the sheer quality of the professor before me. There are second year students that are way up there on my list of people I respect, who I wish I had time to get to know better. So while a whole bunch of my classmates are enjoying the holiday season with their families and a lot of them are laboring over the zillion cover letters we need to churn out by the end of the vacation, I am sitting here at my desk in my apartment just marveling at how far away I am from the world I lived in just a few months ago.
Thank you, Darden, for letting me be a part of your universe.