Turkey Day Thoughts

Okay, so here is the first piece I ever published, back in 2001. It was for the British Council, about my time at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The article featured my Thanksgiving adventures while abroad. So I thought I would share it here:

This was the first time I had ever been invited to a party that was strictly BYOC: Bring Your Own Chair. While we may have lacked an appropriate number of seats, we certainly didn't lack the spirit of friendship and goodwill required to pull off an American-style Thanksgiving in Scotland. This being my first Turkey Day away from home, I tried to get as many details as authentic as possible, right down to the cranberry sauce. I failed miserably.

The evening was utter chaos. Instead of my mother's nice china, we ate off of leaky paper plates with plastic flatware. No nice decorations for our dorm pantry - we had hand-made paper turkey cutouts plastered on the wall. Two days before the big meal we realized that we didn't have enough dishes to cook in, let alone eat out of. It was, in a nutshell, nothing like home.

But when our dinner was over, I realized that this was what had endeared the experience to me. We may have been eating off of a surface that originated as a tree and cooking in bowls that were initially part of a washing machine, but, somehow, it all felt right.

I felt at home, surrounded by laughter, friends, and the smell of burnt potatoes. That I was 5000 miles away from my actual house hardly mattered. I never expected to find a second home in Aberdeen, yet that is exactly what happened.

Much of what I found here wasn't what I had expected. I was looking for friends and found Siamese twins of the soul. I was looking for haggis and found chips and cheese. I was looking to become an Independent Young Woman only to learn how much I depended upon those I loved. I was looking for a semester off and found an experience to last a lifetime.

In these past few months I have traveled farther than the mere miles covered by plane, train, bus and boat. The days I perhaps journeyed the most were the ones in which I never left Aberdeen. When I worked up the nerve to knock on the door of the new girl down the hall. When I played my first solo on the spoons at live music night at the pub. Realizing I was considered a regular at local pubs. I have changed more, become more, than I ever dreamed possible.

But as I travel through the dusty corridors of my memory, what I remember first is not exactly where I was, but whom I was with. This is what has made Aberdeen seem like home to me over the past few months. This spring, when I travel halfway across the States for a reunion with two of the most wonderful people I have befriended here, I will be returning home to Aberdeen, in spirit at least.

In a very real way, I don't think I will ever really leave.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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mary said...

Thanks for sharing Carrie. I recall that you are a world traveler. What a great story! /****

Laura Collins said...

We all seem to find that spot, don't we?

And that time of the year that always brings us back.

Sometimes leaving home is the best way to discover home.

Harriet said...

Welcome home once more, Carrie. :-)

Sarah said...

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving Carrie!


Jeanne said...

Beautiful piece, carrie!

Thank you!

thinking of you with love,

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About Me

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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