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Tanksgiving

November 24, 2018

Last Thanksgiving break I traveled to New Jersey to visit my mom’s side of my family. While the break was really enjoyable, getting to New York and then back to Oberlin involved 18 hours on a bus, most of which were spent in rural Pennsylvania. While spending time with my extended family was fun, it was not particularly restful.

Traveling can be exhausting, especially when our Thanksgiving break is only 4 days long. After dealing with the logistics of travel last year and spending 6 days in the woods during fall break, I was really looking forward to staying in Oberlin this Thanksgiving break. It hasn’t disappointed!

This semester I made a big change from last year and joined a co-op. I live and eat in Tank, and to dive in even further to co-op life, I became a Dining Loose Ends Coordinator, DLEC for short. DLECs basically serve as point people for everyone in the co-op and help manage issues and crises as they arise. We also run discussions on policy changes or whenever we have to elect people to various positions in the co-op (like Food Unpacker or Kitchen Coordinator).

I have really enjoyed living and eating in a co-op so far. I love the community around cooking, and the food itself is really good. Plus, living in the house means that I have unrestricted access to the bread, granola, and tasty things that members of the co-op make on a weekly basis. 

 

A typical meal in Tank: curry lentils, roasted sweet potato and brussels sprouts, and green beans.

 

A delicious Tank lunch: hummus, pita bread, roasted carrots, kale salad, and cucumber yogurt dip!

 

Tank also hosts an annual TANKSgiving celebration, where people can sign up to cook things and anyone still on campus can come eat and celebrate with their friends. I was so excited for Tanksgiving, but I was also a little apprehensive about the day itself. This is the first Thanksgiving I have celebrated away from family.

The morning of Thanksgiving Day I was anxious and a little sad, because a) I missed my family, and b) my grand cooking plans involving cranberries and chickpeas seemed to have fallen through when the only grocery store within biking distance was closed. Luckily, I found chickpeas and someone else let me use their cranberries, so that afternoon I spent 4 hours in Tank’s kitchen making roasted curry chickpeas and cranberry sauce and cleaning up afterwards to some solid 80s music, so I ended up feeling much happier. 

 

A silly Ruth with her tray of roasted spiced chickpeas.

 

I am lucky that a lot of my friends also stayed on campus this break! I invited many of my friends, new and old, still on campus to Tanksgiving, and the meal was abundant and nourishing—emotionally and physically. 

 

The dining room during Tanksgiving—complete with decorative gourds and string lights.

 

My Tanksgiving plate—cornbread, cranberry sauce, chickpeas, mac and cheese, stuffing, and apple kale salad

 

After cleaning up after the meal, I went back to campus with some of my friends who live on North Campus (Tank is very far east, essentially off campus). We had MORE PIE (from the Blue Rooster Bakehouse, in which I am currently writing this post and eating a lemon bar) and talked about deep things like personal growth and love and the future! It was a perfect end to my first Oberlin Thanksgiving. 

This break has been an ideal mix of relaxation and non-stressful work. At the beginning of this semester, I was really worried and overwhelmed at the prospect of having to balance my friendships from last year and making new friends (and there are so many amazing people to get to know here!).

The past few days have been such a perfect opportunity to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen that often this semester, and to spend time with new friends (like fellow blogger Hanne who invited me to her off-campus house for a beautiful dinner). I am thankful I have had time to reflect and relax over the past few days (that, and I’ve been able to watch nearly an entire season of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix).

I am so thankful that I have so many friends in this wonderful place, and while I miss my family, I am thankful that they are generous and loving enough to allow me to attend college in Oberlin. I am thankful that I have the opportunities to try new things, and that I have learned so much from trying those new things.

This break has given me the opportunity to reflect on all that I have to be grateful for, and on the things that are most important to me. Being present this semester has been extremely challenging since I signed up to do so many things! I am constantly moving from one thing to the next and sometimes it is hard to find moments to practice self-care.

This semester is almost over, and it’s been such a whirlwind that I feel like I can’t remember a lot of it, which initially was very upsetting to realize. When I am really intentional about it, I can remember plenty, but to stay more present and appreciate my remaining days before winter break, I have been trying to write down three things each day that made me happy.

Common items on these lists are friends and food. Given that, it’s not surprising that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I am grateful that I have enough in my life that I can take pleasure in the simple things. I feel refreshed and grateful. I am ready to take on the rest of the semester with renewed zeal. 

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