Celebrating traditions abroad, the more the merrier

Last week, the United States celebrated Thanksgiving. For me, this reminds me of hours in the car driving to my great-grandmother’s home in the middle of nowhere. Running around in the surrounding woods with my sister. Followed by eating huge quantities of food and falling asleep on the sofa / floor in a food coma. The last few years though I have been celebrating Thanksgiving in Sweden with my husband and his family. It was a huge shift from being the passive observer, to the person trying to figure out how one cooks all of the traditional foods that include verbally passed on recipes such as “pour in some liquid until it is medium soupy”.

My Swedish family is unusually busy this year, so I thought of forgoing the celebration, the work, the effort, and just letting it pass me by. Then one of my wonderful classmates mentioned how she had always wanted to experience a real authentic American Thanksgiving. Well my Southern hospitality would not let such a thing pass by. I invited her, and another friend from class to my home to celebrate with me and my husband. My very first Thanksgiving with friends instead of family! A friendsgiving if you will. Ingrid came early to help me cook, while Rebecka came later for dinner. It was one of the most relaxed and joyful Thanksgivings I had experienced in quite awhile.
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To honor the less beloved holiday of Black Friday, I went with one of the exchange students to buy a winter coat. The thing about having lived in Sweden for a few years now, is that I know where the outlet mall is, I am subscribed to various stores with sales, and I can get around without getting lost (most of the time anyways.) This particular exchange student is someone that I wish didn’t have to go home, because having her around is such a total joy. To be fair, I love most of our exchange students, the ones I don’t love I just haven’t gotten to know yet. We spent 4 hours shopping, she did find a coat, and I also introduced her to some Swedish as well as American sweets. I have never had a better shopping partner, and it is these simple everyday activities that let these international friendships
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