This year, even more reason to be thankful.

This year, even more reason to be thankful.

My train departed from Union Station at 2:30pm. I'd secured a seat back in October and now my train was sold-out, just as all of the other trains in the country were today. The day before Thanksgiving, and it seemed the whole world was en-route. The car was crowded and hot and I nestled close to the window with a book. D.C., Baltimore, Philly, the train passed through city after gray city. New York, New Haven, Hartford. 8 and a half long hours later, Springfield. I climbed into the car with my sister and my dad, thrilled to see them but exhausted from breathing the stale train car air. It was long past dark. I fell into my bed, glad to be home but too tired to realize it. The vision of city lights passing by played on rewind in my brain as I fluttered off to sleep. 

Thanksgiving morning I woke up and walked out onto the porch barefoot:



Aww, there's a sight I missed.


I ran upstairs and jumped into my sister’s bed. This has been a long-standing tradition: the first one of the two of us up on either Thanksgiving or Christmas brings the glorious news that the day has arrived. We probably should retire this tradition; for the past few years it has usually ended with me getting kicked to the floor. So I picked myself up off the ground and flopped onto the couch in the other room, flipping the TV to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Claire groggily joined me a few minutes later. We caught up on gossip, school, friends, and boys while the sounds of the parade and the enticing scent of turkey swirled around us.  

Thanksgiving dinner was served at 2 p.m. And all I had to do was mash the potatoes! Maybe it was because everything tastes better on Thanksgiving. Maybe it was because it was my first meal around the table with my family in 3 months. Maybe it was because I didn’t have to cook any of the food myself… but dinner was amazing.

Dessert was homemade apple pie, but we’d run out of milk during dinner. I volunteered to go over to the farm and get some milk out of the tank (one of the luxuries of living on a dairy farm: milk on tap)!  While all of the farmers were at dinner, this little girl had arrived.

 

In light of the holiday, we decided to name her “Thanks”.

And she is a perfectly lovely and healthy calf.

 

In the evening, my 15 cousins, sister, and I gathered around my grandmother’s kitchen table for a lively game of Apple’s to Apple’s. I recounted stories of unforgettable moments in the city, life-changing opportunities at my internship, and hilarious weekend antics. Many of my cousins did not attend college and many of them will never leave my town. Glancing around the table, I felt a rush of love, but also a pang of sorrow for my cousins. Most them in their late twenties and early thirties, they will not have experiences like I will have. 

I am so thankful for my time in Washington D.C.  In just this short semester I have connected with people who have given me insight into my goals and potential future careers. I have cooked for myself, budgeted my spending, and navigated D.C. public transportation. I have experience more culture in just 3 months than my entire life before now. I have given presentations on topics I am passionate about and presented work that I can stand behind. I would not trade my D.C. experience for anything. 

Boarding the train early on Monday morning, I realized I was just as excited to get back to D.C. as I was to get home 6 days prior. Only 7 hours later, I was back. I practically ran off the train and into the Washington Center’s Residential Academic Facility – my home away from home.

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