Do you realise that it’s only been 4 weeks since Christmas?! Au Pair in America blogger Maria welcomes the New Year by throwing it back to the holiday season. Two months full of friends and family time, old and new traditions and lots and lots of food!
Welcome back, Springboarders! In the USA, there are many interesting holidays that are celebrated in a certain way as the ‘American tradition’. Although I come from Canada, also a country that celebrates Thanksgiving, my family is from Argentina and we normally don’t celebrate it. This year was my first ever American Thanksgiving celebration – well two. While Christmas was a hard time for me spent away from my family, it was still great to be able to create a memory and celebrate it a little bit differently.
I had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner with my host family. The weekend was super busy with my host father’s parents coming to visit from Washington, DC. It was nostalgic to have native Spanish speaking individuals that are also from Argentina to share stories with, conversations and some great memories with their family. When the big day came, it was exciting! We had lots of food to prepare. We watched the turkey roast for hours – you could smell it all the way downstairs from my bedroom! The aroma in the house felt very ‘homey’; children were playing, adults were laughing, and I was grateful enough to invite my au pair friend, Nayla, from Costa Rica. I don’t think I have ever had a larger feasting of food before.
The turkey was as large as two of my heads. There was gravy – creamy and great tasting, so good I had it with my potatoes, too! The cranberry sauce, of which I have never tried before, was my absolute favorite item on the table. It was sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet and surprisingly a great pair to all the food. The potatoes were smooth; throw some butter on them, mix them up and they were just extraordinary! The casseroles were delicious and especially the salad. Soft warm bread is always a great appetizer. Everything just made this Thanksgiving celebration truly amazing. But the best part wasn’t the food. The best part was being with a family that I care for dearly, and vice versa, sharing a new memory with the children and meeting new members of their special family, all while enjoying amazing food. Could it get any better?
My second Thanksgiving was similar in the sense of how it made me feel and who I spent it with, but a little unconventional food-wise. I call it my “Friendsgiving”. It brought all my favorite friends that I have made here so far in Indianapolis, and that I consider my second family. We had Mexican food called ‘pozole’ – a traditional Mexican soup with multiple ingredients that you let simmer for many hours until the chicken inside is cooked! We had American food, we had a unique cake made for us, we danced and sang karaoke. And we toasted to our amazing friendships that I truly believe will be lifelong when my time here in Indianapolis sadly ends. It was great to see everyone come together and contribute time and effort to provide us all with a nostalgic ‘family’ celebration considering most of us are without our own families here.
Christmas back home means opening presents late at night after coming home from church. However, this year, I was able to experience what waking up to presents means! The children were extremely excited, all wearing cute matching pyjamas, including my own, just like I’ve always imagined spending it. There were plenty of presents to open and play with. The children could not contain their excitement and played with almost everything they received! Keeping the wrapping paper under control was probably the hardest part of that morning. Afterwards, we all went to mass together. And I’m glad that we did! It allowed me to keep some of my own family tradition from home alive and although it was a little sad, I was also happy to be with them and have a relaxing day too.
Holidays especially is a hard time for all au pairs even more so if they aren’t visiting back home for those times, but the best thing is to truly immerse yourself in the traditions and celebrations here. Be involved in any way you can, and laugh as much as you can. Because it can one day become your own family tradition and it will help you realize the opportunity you have to expand your mindset and worldly views. See you next time!