The months of November and December are altogether a new experience here in the United States. Back in India, actual celebrations for Christmas commence a week before Christmas Day. But here, I think the festive season starts way before in October or, to be more precise, after Halloween. After enjoying the Halloween season with my hostel friends, it was time to celebrate the next important festival or event, as I would say, which is Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is all about sharing and exchanging gifts. It is the season of sales, such as Black Friday electronic sales, and sales on clothes, cosmetics, toys, and even food joints! It’s a season of sales, but more importantly I feel it is the festival where families come and have a great time together. The best part, I believe, was for the fact that once the month of November started, I could feel the festive vibe all over the place. People decorating their houses, malls, and shopping complexes lit up and not to forget the Thanksgiving meal which was prepared everywhere.
Speaking of Thanksgiving meals, the Commons also hosted a traditional Thanksgiving dinner just before the Thanksgiving break. So, a day earlier, every one of us at the hostel planned to visit the Riverwalk to witness the parade and fireworks which were to be followed. The plan was set-have a good dinner at The Commons, enjoy the parade, and finally see the fireworks.
The Thanksgiving meal at The Commons was open for everyone in the college. It was such a great gesture by the team, and equally important was the prepared food. Until that day, I had only heard about the dishes that are prepared for the Thanksgiving meal, and finally tasting them after all these years was seriously a great feeling for me. Not only was the food organized for everyone, but there were fun activities hosted for the students as well.
After the scrumptious meal, it was time to head out for the Riverwalk. We sensed the amount of traffic while on our way when we saw diversions along the street ,and we just hoped that we don’t miss the parade and the fireworks. Luckily for us, we paved our way to the Riverwalk only to find a crowd of people waiting to witness the events. With cellphones in the air and babies on the shoulders blocking our view, the parade was hardly visible to us from such a long distance, and we all thought that we were not at the right place for the fireworks. But we were wrong.
Once the clock hit 7 p.m., the river was lit up with fireworks in the air. The colorful and spectacular display of fireworks for 10 minutes took our breath away, quite literally. There was no space for the smoke to exit after the fireworks were done! Kidding. Nothing of that sort happened, and we soon dispersed to the next stop.
Even though we were all full, we all were thirsty and so it was decided to grab some milkshakes near the Bean, and there we saw the beautiful ice-skating rink being readied up for the next set of enthusiasts to skate on. Just before reaching the rink, we saw this beautifully decked-up and lit-up Christmas tree, all waiting to be clicked by our phones. Yup Christmas was on its way.
And so, after tons of clicks and milkshakes, it was time to head back home. It was an evening well spent with the family far away from our families. These are the times when you realize how far you actually are from your family. But for me, this new family of friends was more than anything else here and left me waiting for Christmas to surprise me soon.