I've always loved Thanksgiving. I think it's the simplicity of it. Everyone gets a day off, eats good food, and reflects on what they're thankful for. It's a lot like Christmas, except without the pressure of gift-giving.
I struggled to enjoy it this year as much as I usually do. This semester really has been a lesson on poverty; I've participated in poverty simulations, learned about real examples of poverty in South Dakota, heard from Mary Robinson (the former president of Ireland) as she spoke about the extreme famine in third-world countries, and learned about how poverty affects the classroom.
Being aware of all these issues, I had a hard time enjoying a day that revolves around overeating. The restaurant I work at was hosting a free Thanksgiving meal for members of the community who couldn't afford to have their own, and as I sat at my grandma's house, passing around heaping bowls of mashed potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, and lefse, I wanted nothing more than to be back at the restaurant, helping out. I just felt sick, spoiled, and unworthy. I wanted to do something--anything to help.
That being said, I survived my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian. Not difficult. After all, the desserts are the best part, and there's no meat in pumpkin pie! ;)
I'm eager to get back to school so I can power through these last few weeks. I sense stress and chaos in the near future, so I've been emotionally bracing myself.
I'll be a student teacher in just a couple of months. Almost there. I just gotta keep going. One day at a time.