Thanksgiving was an alien concept to me till I began my university life at CityU. At the beginning of my first year, I met a lot of international students at CityU Student Residence who let me peep into their lives to help me understand their own culture. It was only then that I realised how important the festival of Thanksgiving was considered in the whole of North America. Traditionally, what started off as a time to give thanks for the bountiful harvest is now celebrated as Thanksgiving to express our gratitude to God, family and friends, for everything they have done for us.

During my exchange semester at McGill University in Canada, I got to experience my first real Thanksgiving. Last year in Hong Kong I had a couple of really good friends who were on an exchange at CityU and they missed their homes during Thanksgiving. So we all had a hall gathering to make them feel at home. This year, I was in a similar situation. How times change! My Hong Kong, Singaporean and other international friends realised that while the Canadians returned home for a three-day weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, all of us missed our families. This created a special bond amongst us because we all felt the same emotions, as if we belonged to one big family - an International Family.

Along with my two room-mates, Samuel and Olivia, I was the host for the Thanksgiving dinner that was held at our place. We played host to all our Asian friends. As the saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and we cooked some scrumptious meals for everyone. Our Thanksgiving menu included turkey, fried potatoes, pizzas, rice and dessert.

For us, food was just a reason to come together and celebrate this big day to express our happiness, love and care for everyone who helped us to be what we are. It was a day to thank not only our family which was far away from us across the sea but also the international family of our friends who have ensured support for us at all times.