Ever since I was little Thanksgiving has been a time of family and friendship; everyone in the family comes together to cook and break bread. Despite what is happening in our country, around the world, or even in our own homes, taking the time to be with family is extremely important.

One of my favorite traditions for my family during Thanksgiving dinner is going around the table and expressing what we are each thankful for. It should come as no surprise that we all end up crying because we are filled with a loving warmth that can overcome anything.

This year I won’t be home for Thanksgiving because I’m studying abroad in Spain. So here’s what I am thankful for this holiday season.

1. I am thankful for my unyieldingly supportive family and friends

Shawn, Mom, Dad, Moriah, Dana, Brittany, Bethany, Sanna, Caleb, Hayley, my Big, my sorority, my Spanish familia that I’m staying with. My professors in the university (always a shout out to Sandy!) and at my study abroad program (Álvaro, Eva, Maria, Marga, Leti, Alicia, Beatriz). Thank you all. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support.

2. I’m thankful for this amazing opportunity to study abroad and immerse myself in the Spanish language

This life-changing experience has taught me so much about myself and who I want to be. Again, thank you to those who supported me along this way.

Another important tradition of Thanksgiving, or any holiday in my family, is the food. Food is a staple in my family that unites us. No matter if you’ve had a good day or a bad day my Mom and Dad’s home cooked food can fix anything, or one of Moriah’s pies, or Beth’s everything! Diana’s cole slaw, Dana’s stuffing, Brittany’s deviled eggs, and Caleb’s chocolate fudge pies! Food is crucial in my family and here’s what Thanksgiving tastes like to me!

  1. A beautiful golden Turkey that has been slowly roasted in the oven
  2. BAKED CORN. My Mama’s baked corn is the most delicious thing anyone will ever eat because it’s corn that we saved from the summer so when we eat that at Thanksgiving (and Christmas and Easter) it tastes like a little bite of summer. Buttery, not too sweet, and just perfect.
  3. MACARONI AND CHEESE. Again, my Mama’s cooking is perfect and I miss it. Her mac ‘n cheese brings you to tears because of how good it is.
  4. Homemade rolls. Made by hand. Risen to perfection.
  5. Pumpkin roll. If you don’t know what that is LOOK IT UP.
  6. Stuffing and cole slaw. Mix them and magic happens, I promise you. Even add a little turkey to the mix.
  7. Mashed potatoes AND sweet potatoes. Yes. Both.
  8. Deviled Eggs. Extra mustard please.

Although I won't be home for Thanksgiving, it is still a day to reflect on the importance of family and how we can try and incorporate that sentiment more into daily life and not just a holiday. Give thanks for all that you have.