The family dinner is what many are looking forward to most in Thanksgiving. Almost every one who chooses to celebrate the holiday looks forward to it. “My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the food, especially the pies,” said Consuelo Garcia-Garcia ’12. Ilana Heaton ’14 agreed with her: “I love the food on Thanksgiving. The stuffing in turkey is my favorite.”
While turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pies, and many other traditional Thanksgiving foods are all largely enjoyed, some members of the Choate community look forward to their own interesting food traditions. Gabe Davis ’14 said, “The day before everyone [in my family] comes, my grandpa and I spend four hours making a lot of hot and sour soup. I don’t know what his recipe is, but it is just fantastic. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, my family buys about forty two-pound lobsters. Guests are invited, and the people eat loads and loads and loads of lobsters just to prove that we are New Englanders.”
Choate as a school has it’s own tradition for Thanksgiving— the annual “Thanksgiving Festive Dinner” at Hill House dinning hall during the week before exams. Students and faculty looked forward to this event each year. This year the dinner will be on Thursday, November 17. “I love it. They make all the traditional Thanksgiving food: Turkey, cranberry sauce, and a lot of pies.” said Afia Amoako ’14.
Along with the festive food, Thanksgiving represents other memorable family traditions as well. Spanish teacher Ms. Patricia Antunez said, “My brother and I used to play ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ in the record ‘Christmas with the Chipmunks’ after Thanksgiving to start off the Christmas season when we were little. Now we are playing the same song for our children to carry on the tradition.”
Although Thanksgiving is not widely celebrated in other countries, most people are still excited about the break from school. Sara Sagadiev ’13 from Kazakhstan is going back home and staying there for a week. “I’m looking forward to spend time with my parents and friends and just enjoy the environment I grow up in,” she said. Aline Mitsuzawa ’14 from Brazil is also going back home to Sao Paulo. Unlike those who are eager for stuffing and mashed potatoes, she said that she misses the taste of traditional Brazilian foods such as barbecue and “Pastel”, a kind of fried cheese. “Thanksgiving is not a popular holiday in Jamaica. Only families have connection with the United States celebrate it,” said Anji Chatani ’14. “My whole family gets together and we have dinner. I went to an American school where we always had three or four days off for Thanksgiving.”
Some international students choose to travel to places nearby instead of going home since the break is relatively short. Isaac Lee ’14, from South Korea, said that he plans to go to Caribbean for a week with his sisters. James Liu ’15 from Beijing, China will meet up with his mother in New York, and together they will go to a family friend’s house in Washington D.C. Liu is excited for his visit to D.C. because it will give him an opportunity to experience the American holiday. He said, “I’m really interested in learning about the traditions and how to make Thanksgiving food such as turkey from my American friend.”
For international students who are unable to go home and do not have other travel plans, there is no need to worry. The school offers to arrange for them to stay with a local student family or a faculty family. Mr. William Morris, Dean of the Fourth Form Boys, said, “Anne Armour, Director of International Students, circulates a questionnaire to everyone at the beginning of the year, asking if [boarding students who live far away] have made plans for Thanksgiving break or if they’d like to be placed with a family, whether a day student, a local boarding student, or a faculty. Then she works with Libby Peard, parent coordinator…They maintain a list of families who volunteer to host international students. Mrs. Armour and Mrs. Peard do their best to help those request a host family.”