Every Student Has A Story

University of Haifa International School Student Blog

FOMO is real: Thanksgiving Abroad

Never have I ever felt more homesick than experiencing Thanksgiving away from home. Let me start by saying that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For everyone who loathes Thanksgiving, I feel sorry that your family and your traditions don’t measure up to mine; you’re welcome to come join my family next year and experience the most exciting long weekend ever. I don’t necessarily care for the celebration of the Native Americans teaching the Europeans to farm and the the Europeans turning around and taking over their land, but I love that the holiday brings my family and friends together.

Thanksgiving is a time to snuggle up with my family to comment ferociously about the talent of the year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a time for all of the cousins to squeeze on the couch and whine at our outnumbered fathers to change the channel from football to the dog show. It’s a time to eventually admit defeat and retreat to the basement to find out which dog will win the coveted title. It’s a time to enjoy the most delicious foods that have been taunting us all day in the oven. (To set the record straight, just because I am a vegetarian does NOT mean that I suffer on Thanksgiving, trust me.) It’s a time to maybe let go of old traditions, like Women vs. Men Cranium, and adopt new ones, like finding the best hiding place for a giant foam ear of corn. Whatever time it is, what ever crazy traditions we might have at our house, it’s the best time with the best people.

All of that changes when you’re someone who loves Thanksgiving and you spend it abroad. The term FOMO (fear of missing out) becomes the most relevant acronym in your life. I fear that I am going to miss some insane inside joke that I won’t understand next year. I fear that there may be new traditions started that I wasn’t apart of starting. I can’t decide if technology makes this fear more or less intense. On the one hand, I am able to Snapchat, Whatsapp, and Face Time my family at every possibility, which allows me to keep up on whatever is happening during the weekend. On the other hand, I can wallow in the sadness of not being there by casually stalking all the pictures from this year and years past. I see all of my friends from high school and camp, coming together for “Friendsgiving,” and it’s difficult to come to terms that I’m not there with them. I want to be there so badly. Call the doctor because this girl has a serious case of FOMO. 

Throughout the week, I have had to constantly remind myself that I am in Israel. I’m meeting new people, hiking mountains, exploring old cities all while everyone at home is looking out the window at several inches of snow. I look out at the Mediterranean Sea every single time I walk to class. I don’t have to wear a puffy coat that goes down to my ankles, making me look like a giant marshmallow. I get to say that I have made friends who live in Germany, Belgium, Poland, Spain, amongst other countries. I get to host a make-shift Thanksgiving meal with new friends where we will share our traditions with each other. Considering I don’t have a giant foam ear of corn and nose whistles, I might just have to stick to the classic spoon-on-nose trick and see if anyone can outlast me.

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Marketing Director for the University of Haifa International School. Offering students from over 40 countries around the world an academic summer,semester or yearlong opportunity in Haifa!

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