Day 80/86: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy [belated] Thanksgiving to you all!

I am very late in posting this, however, I’m pleased to say that I’ve been very very busy the past two weeks!

I’ve been making leaps and bounds in preparation for my project. All I needed was an honest conversation with my mentors about the scope, objectives, and timeline of my project. My project now differs slightly from my original proposal to Fulbright, but I believe this is for the best. My project is now more succinct and I believe that it will yield interesting results!

As far as my life outside of research, November has been a blur! I saw Hozier in concert on a whim. I live around the corner from an incredible artistic space in which I listened to spoken word and musical performances by expatriates, the majority of whom were of color. They were powerful, heart-wrenching, encouraging, and, at times, humorous. The environment was exactly what I had not realized I missed so much while living as a woman of color in Spain (another post on this in the future).

Speaking of culture, last night I attended my first Atlético Madrid fútbol game! It was… surprisingly calm! I always had this image of ecstatic fútbol fans leaning over the balconies of games and threatening to storm the field after every goal. According to my roommates, this does happen, just not in “low-stake” games such as the one I attended. My Swiss roommate also told me that if it was his team playing, he would be too worked up to answer all the questions I was asking (haha)! I get it, if the Steelers were playing at the end of the fourth quarter 16 points behind with 10 minutes remaining… I wouldn’t have the breath to answer questions either!

Finally, Thanksgiving. I took it upon myself to host a Thanksgiving dinner to give my European roommates a traditional American dinner (minus a turkey… because that was just too much). I worked hard to emulate the incredible hostess that is my mother, going so far as to clean a bathroom and tell everyone “This restroom is not to be used until our guests arrive”.

After a shopping trip I assigned everyone jobs. I had a cooking army of 4. Jules, Sophie, and Loïc peeled and chopped the yams. While Julien and I mixed in ingredients to create the sweet potato casserole. I prepared a dish of macaroni and cheese before looking at the time and realizing I still had more than an hour until guests arrive. At this point, Jules and Loïc claimed they were hungry and ready to eat. I patiently explained to them that the hunger and anticipation were also a part of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner experience. I told them that they still had about an hour and half to eat and they chickened out and snacked on fries while we waited.

An hour and the purchase of 6 plates of roast chicken later, we had the beginnings of a meal. Other Fulbrighters arrived bearing gifts of mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and more mashed potatoes. With a living room full of 14 people (and enough seating for 9) we ate and shared what we were most thankful for in a mixture of English, Spanish, and French.

I am thankful for everyone who has played a role in my journey to this Fulbright award (as it began far before my application to Fulbright) and those who will impact me as I continue my journey into the future! Thank you.

Written with love <3