Glazed Turkey - United States

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My first Thanksgiving dinner was in 2009. I was an exchange student in Pennsylvania, and my roommate Lauren invited me to her home in New Jersey. Seeing her adorable family around the table, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the holiday, which doesn’t exist in Spain.

That’s why, in 2013, when I was teaching in Arkansas and the loveliest of all the people I have ever met abroad, Jane, invited me to her mother’s house in Oklahoma, I didn’t hesitate. Moreover, the day I was leaving the natural state, even though it was May, Jane and her daughter Leah cooked for me a second Thanksgiving because they knew how much I loved it.

This year it happened again. While working in New York, an old friend from Pennsylvania, Adam, told me to join him at his grandma’s house; I think it took me half a second to accept the invitation.

When I drove back to Syracuse, as if one Thanksgiving banquet was not enough to feed me for a whole month, two days later I prepared another whole meal, from scratch. I didn’t want my partner to miss out on my favorite American holiday. I actually think we should import it to my country.

I know, I know. There are some imperialistic implications to such a self-indulgent feast. I am not denying the cultural and political issues this day entails; a day chosen for mourning by many Native Americans, for the massacre of indigenous people that followed what would have been the first Thanksgiving dinner. Quick recap: After the arrival of the Mayflower, many Englishmen died in the merciless New England weather. The native peoples helped them and, in 1621, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag celebrated together with the first successful harvest of the colony, apparently with some turkey and bays.

Nevertheless, and again, not to minimize the historical memory, the concept with which Thanksgiving is sold nowadays is beautiful and, I believe, necessary. We tend to take for granted all that we have and I, for one, am an extremely lucky individual who cannot let a chance pass for expressing my gratitude.

When Lauren invited me to her home, I had just landed, so to speak, in a tiny university in the heart of the Poconos. I was new to the country and its culture, no matter how many movies I had watched. And not even three weeks went by when I was invited to this family celebration. Three weeks. They did not know me, but it didn’t matter, because Thanksgiving is about that: about sharing with the newcomer. I wasn’t going to starve like the pilgrims of Plymouth, but I felt as if I were saved because never again did I feel a stranger in the United States. Not then, and not the other three times I’ve come to live here.

And it is not only that. I have incredible amounts of love and friendship in my life, all over the world. I have a job that never bores me, and thanks to which I can travel almost as much as I want. I have fulfilled almost all of my dreams by the age of 30 already, and I seem to be on track for achieving the remaining ones (even this year’s turkey wishbone said so). If I get a meal designed to enjoy and express how thankful I am for my people, and the food, and the traveling… I will feed you this

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