Everybody talks about Granada being a top destination in Spain, and they are right – it’s The City of Enchantment. I’m not sure if I just coined that term or if it already existed, but what I do know is that I was undoubtedly captivated the moment I arrived in this wondrous city. Each time I crossed paths with strangers, they brushed me with such kindness in which I never knew could exist. One encounter included a random joke; a gentleman stopped me and my friend on our journey through La Alhambra and thought it was a good time to tell a joke to people completely unknown to him. Another instance occurred during a taxi ride to La Alhambra (maybe the benevolence has something to do with this aesthetic fortress). Our taxi driver decided to show us around the outskirts of the immense castle and advised us on the things we shouldn’t miss and traditions of the town. No extra pay was expected; he simply wanted to be generous. I’m sure you don’t have that happen very often. On top of wondrous people, the land was absolutely stunning. The snowcapped Sierra Nevada was the backdrop of the delightful region with La Alhambra to accompany its breathtaking beauty. The town rested in its arms with white colonial homes with fairy-like doors shadowing the cobblestoned pathways. Each uneven path I took led me to Spanish guitar or flamenco that loomed the streets and further coercing me to follow the blissful notes to carry me through this quaint village. Ultimately, to end my adventurous days, I walked into various little bars in which I rejuvenated my spirits with quenching cañas and tasty tapas that came with each caña I ordered. Nothing seemed more ideal than the charming and whimsical town of Granada.
A variety of thoughts scrambled through my mind at my initial contentions of my first Thanksgiving away from home:
Well, this is a bummer; I won’t be with my family. Will I be able to eat turkey on Turkey Day? Wait, maybe I can cook Thanksgiving dinner? But, I’ve never done it before. Of course I can, I’ll cook for my host family.
After working out what I could do to make this day special, I decided to actually celebrate Thanksgiving in Spain with my host family. However, as they days grew closer to Thanksgiving, I grew sad and nostalgic for what I could have with my family back home. I wanted to see all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and the rest of my typical crazy family; that’s why I love this holiday – besides the amazing decadent food that forces me to unzip my pants just so I can eat a little more. With time, I coped with the feeling of nostalgia and accepted that this can still be a great holiday. Encompasses by a new mentality, I spent a bit of time preparing for the dinner and exciting my host family for it; fortunately, they did seem quite enthused and ready to celebrate with me.
Thanksgiving finally arrived and I successfully cooked the traditional holiday meal (minus a real turkey; a turkey roast had to suffice). We cheerfully spent the evening stuffing our faces as I delved into our holiday traditions. We passed the time as if we were enjoying this chilly day in Chicago. My fears of being alone on one of my favorite holidays soon disappeared. It occurred to me that I wasn’t alone without my family for Thanksgiving; but rather that I was accompanied by a caring new family – my host family. I realized how thankful I was to be able to share this experience with them. The best part was knowing how thankful they were too. This was their true first Thanksgiving and they genuinely appreciated it – I found that out by the countless photos taken with smiles and the joyful tears that fell from my host mom’s face.