November is coming to a close and December, our final portion of the semester, is upon us. I remember when I first arrived in Siena, I couldn’t imagine celebrating Thanksgiving with this group of people I had just met.
Everyone who attended brought something to contribute to the potluck dinner. Drew and I spent the entire previous afternoon trying to hunt down a traditional American Thanksgiving turkey all over the city. The faces of every butcher after we asked for a “intero tacchino, per domani” were priceless--and inevitably dead ends. We ended up with three small chickens. Boh!
A group of us cooked all day, accompanied by prosecco and a little holiday music to really get in the mood. Here I learned how to butterfly a chicken, then resumed my duties as party planner. I thoroughly enjoyed crafting a Thanksgiving sign, place settings, etc. for the table as I watched my friends before me cook together and dance. To my right, there was a window with an incredible view of the city, and a sunset behind the Duomo.
Naturally, the start of the feast crept up on us suddenly and it turned into a mad dash to get dressed and transport all of the trays, pots, and decorations to the school. We arrived at the school, arms full, and set up as everyone filed into the Sunny Room we are used to having class in. It was transformed into a makeshift living room full of a dysfunctional family. We unabashedly dug into the food. We played my family’s traditional game of anonymously writing down what we are thankful for, putting them in a basket, and then guessing who wrote what. Kyriakos presented Chloe with a birthday treat and we all sang for her. The singing transformed into Yiannis playing guitar as we “sang” native songs from our home countries. The Americans couldn’t seem to get it together…
While the Greeks were singing εξαιρέσεις, or Exceptions, I suddenly became overwhelmed by the community these 20 faces in front of me had created. Iris waving her lighter in the air ironically. Oriana and Alex thoughtfully trying to sing along in Greek. I squeezed Chloe and Alkis’ hands and tried to make this moment last, in a room full of people I never would have met or befriended if it weren’t for this semester.
Siena School for Liberal Arts student