After three months together, of taking classes, touring Europe, and attempting to gain some fluency in German, our study abroad group spent our first week apart. Usually together for most classes and for excursions to Poland, Prague, and elsewhere, we had spent the week at our separate internships.
We were reunited Thursday, Thanksgiving night. The Director of the Program, Dr. Jacobsen, invited us all (our teachers and anyone involved in the program, an odd thirty people) to a Thanksgiving feast at his place. We’re not unfamiliar with the apartment, as it has become a sort of home base. There, we know we’ll always be welcomed and treated to tea and cookies courtesy of his wife, who seems to never lack a friendly smile and a welcoming hug. A week ago, she had asked everyone from the program what Thanksgiving food they would miss the most, so that she could cook it that evening. I think they were trying to make it impossible for us to feel homesick.
Yet, without the food (though, that certainly helped), I feel as though homesickness wouldn’t have come or would have been minimal. I was surrounded by people that I had grown fond of; I had a slice of American home in the middle of this foreign country. Most of the others seem to feel similar. After our week apart, everyone appeared genuinely happy to see one another and to find out how the others internships were going.
In reality, we’re a pretty mismatched group; our personalities covering a fairly broad range of bases. Despite this, we’ve all managed not only to get along but to really like and appreciate one another. When I first arrived in Germany, I had no one to share the experience with; now, I have ten.
At the table, I sat beside some of the other students and our Peace and Conflict teacher (We have found ourselves as comfortable with these teachers as we have always been with our Naz teachers). Salad awaited us at our plates and was quickly followed by hot pumpkin soup. And then the main meal began to appear. String bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, Turkey, and much more followed one after the other, down the line and around the table. There’s even special vegan food for Emily. I’m impressed, I can’t imagine its easy making that much food, for that many people, and have it all taste so good too.
Dessert on the other hand, was prepared by us, the students. I had struggled the day before to make vegan chocolate chip cookies with the help of my host siblings. Although all four of them are very nice, they spent most of the time laughing at my inability to measure ingredients correctly and at the state the kitchen was in when I was done baking.
After dessert, though it was still early, some of us decided to leave so we could get up on time for our internships the next morning. But we planned on meeting up that weekend, in particular to check out the famous Christmas Markets that had opened all over Germany on Monday. We’d decide on more later.
After all, we only have three weeks left in Berlin and we plan to make the best of them.
~ Jessica Geraci