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What Thanksgiving Means to Me

by Diwa Reyes 23 Nov 2023

When I arrived in the US in Jan. 1991, I was trying to get myself used to everything around me: food, people, school…

By Thanksgiving, I had already made friends at the University of Maryland, where I went for graduate study at the Journalism School. I had been cooking for myself and my family since a young age, so tackling a Turkey sounded intriguing to me.

Not quite a Martha Stewart, I understood that it is more about setting the whole table than just cooking the bird. I invited many friends who confessed to never having a Thanksgiving dinner because they were foreign students, and no one had invited them to one!

So, the tradition of Friendsgiving started: I always make the turkey, the cranberry sauce, and gravy, and I invite others to bring sides and salads, pies and desserts, and, of course, wines. It is more of a potluck with flavors from all over the world!

Fast forward, I had two boys who are now making their own Friendsgiving Dinner and it is also the 32nd year that I have been making turkeys for a bunch of friends and family. To be exact, there will be 47 of us this year! I am so happy to see friends that have been coming for the last three decades, and each year, there will always be a new family or two.

What I learned is the following:

1: One can start a tradition for anything if they put their hearts to it

2: Sharing your thanks and your cooking is much better than having them alone

3: The person that hosts the party has the benefit of not traveling too far- therefore I like to keep my job

4: You start something small, and before you know it, it could grow bigger

Such is what Thanksgiving means to me… Happy Holidays!



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