Dec 1st, 2017, 01:49 PM

A Heartfelt Thanksgiving

By Nina Rines
Image Credit: Alfio Lococo 2017
A day for thanks and gratitude, AUP's sense of family is always strong in its traditions.

Last week, AUP indulged in one of the university's favorite annual traditions: The Thanksgiving Dinner. Held at the American Church of Paris on Quai d’Orsay, students from all over the world were able to enjoy in an American tradition devoted to giving thanks and sharing the evening with those we love.

Although many American students weren’t able to come home for the meal, the family found in friends creates another meaning to home, especially brought out by the cozy and cheerful feelings buzzing throughout the church. Traditional Thanksgiving food, including turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce was contrasted by le French touch of cheese and wine, completing the unique character AUP has to offer.

Image Credit: Nina Rines

As the long line filed around the corner, people became chatty around the Baytna a Vous table that was taking donations to help rebuild schools in Syria for children who have had interrupted education through CODSSY (a humanitarian NGO in Paris), giving them positivity in the spirit of sharing, gratitude, and appreciation. "In the Thanksgiving spirit, it’s important to be grateful for what we have, and we should also think of and do what we can to help others who are not as fortunate," said the president of BVSyria, Diana Hickox. This year, BVSyria's fundraiser was selling books featuring paintings and interviews from Syrians with interviews translated into English, Arabic, and French so that the story behind each painting and person can be better understood. 

Tables filled up quickly, drinks emptied rapidly, and the lines kept getting longer. It was a first-come-first-serve experience. “They need to prep more tables, we’re such a big university” I overheard a student say while moving my way into the dining area with a plateful of turkey and gravy. “I hope they still have food,” others mumbled as I was moving past the line that has more than doubled since I had begun the line for myself. While significant effort is always invested into this traditional feast, this isn’t the first time that the festivities were offset by the slow, and risky, wait in line. A new system of getting people through the lines more swiftly would greatly help decrease some stress levels after a long day of classes, most likely compounded with “hangry-ness”.

 “Us in France, we don’t have a holiday such as Thanksgiving. I think it is a really great idea to take some time and think about what is important and to be grateful for what we have”

Despite the long lines, food was plentiful for everyone in the end. What truly zested the university’s international flavor was the diversity of guests who were able to part-take in an American tradition, for many for the first time. said a French guest, Annabelle Durot, who is a student at the Sorbonne. “I think it is a good way to open the holiday feeling that leads to Christmas, which has kind of the same feelings of thankfulness.”

So, a word to the wise for next year’s Thanksgiving – RSVP online earlier to allow for the organizers to make more room for sitting, and if you wish to avoid the long lines, it would be a good idea to come closer to the beginning of the event. However, don’t let the long lines deter you from enjoying your time! It is a great opportunity to talk to the people around you, to donate to Baytna a Vous or learn more about it, to take in the lively and familial atmosphere, and to relax—you won’t be missing out on any food!