LIFE/ Madeline Merlic: Thanksgiving in Italy

Thanksgiving is an American holiday as old as the nation itself. As kids, we were taught the light version of the history between pilgrims who arrived in the U.S. and the Native Americans.
The story goes that the pilgrims had been experiencing a very rough winter in the new land that was so foreign to them and the Native Americans extended a helping hand to them and showed them how to grow corn. The two groups sat down together after this to share a meal as a form of thanks.
For me, Thanksgiving has always been a wonderful day. The preparation for it started weeks before with a trip to the grocery store to get all of the essentials needed for the feast. My parents always hosted the meal at our house because they take great pride in the meal they put out. Ever since I can remember, they have followed a recipe from Good Housekeeping from the mid-1990s and it is simply delicious.
Since I could handle a peeler, they have put me to work peeling mounds and mounds potatoes and sweet potatoes. I also help my mom set up our dining room table for all of our dinner guests who are normally made up of family friends because both sides of my family live far away and can’t make it down to San Jose, California for the meal.
This year I wasn’t able to do any of this because I’m living 6,000 plus miles away. My parents are celebrating the holiday somewhere else, with my dad’s cousins. I am sad to be missing this holiday but I am so thankful for the family I have made here.
As a way to celebrate the holiday, friends of mine have put on “Friendsgiving” which is basically a thanksgiving meal with friends and everyone brings in a dish. I was fortunate enough to go to two of these meals, each one delicious and made memorable with all of the laughs we shared.
A long with these meals, the program I am here for, USAC, put on a thanksgiving lunch for us the day of thanksgiving. It was fantastic to see everyone and meet new Italian students who were there as well.
As another year of thanksgiving meals pass and the Christmas holiday season kicks into gear, I can’t help but think about how thankful I am to have been a part of this amazing program in Italy and how lucky I am to have met all of these wonderful people.

Hello, my name is Madeline Merlic and I am a student from California studying abroad in Viterbo, Italy. I am currently in my last year of university and in May of 2016 I will graduate with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations with two minors in History and European studies from California State University, Chico. I enjoy traveling and documenting my trips through photos.

Facebook: Maddy Merlic
Instagram: @madelinemer