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Torero Life Abroad: Give Thanks, London Style

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Torero Life Abroad chronicles the life of a University of San Diego student as they participate in the study abroad experience. Follow Taylor Milam’s real-life adventures, anticipation, and experiences as she studies abroad in London for the fall semester. She is a junior at USD majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. USD ranks first in the nation for undergraduate study abroad participation, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2012 Report. This is the fourth installment of the series.

The Christmas lights are shining on Oxford Street and Costa has started to play cheerful Christmas music for their customers as they wait in line for coffee. London’s holiday season has officially begun.

It’s strange to realize that there is no momentous turkey feast to separate Halloween and Christmas for me this year, and even stranger to understand that my British friends have never sat around a table with family and friends to devour delicious Thanksgiving staples — roasted turkey, yams, stuffing, carrot cake, and green bean casserole, to name a few. In fact, most of them have never even heard of these foods. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade may as well not exist for my British friends, and football teams don’t clash against each other on their televisions unless they’re watching what we in America would call “soccer.” Even stranger is the recognition that this year, that’s all going to change.

This Thanksgiving season, my British friends will experience their first-ever traditional Thanksgiving meal cooked by Americans. My American flatmates and I plan to recreate an authentic Thanksgiving experience for the Brits. Is it even possible to purchase a full-size turkey in Britain? I guess we’ll find out! What I do know is that sitting down to dinner surrounded by both friends and friends who have turned into family — I love you, Jess, Nora, and Zach — I’ll have more than I ever thought was possible to be thankful for.

As I dig into our British/American feast, I’ll think of my family and friends at home doing the same and send them my love. I know that my mom will be putting together a delicious dinner for our family, my sisters will be laughing (and occasionally yelling) together in the background, and my stepdad will hum along to the radio while preparing the turkey. A piece of my heart will remain there with them as we share similar meals thousands of miles away.

This Thanksgiving, I have an obscene amount to be thankful for: the friends I’ve made in London, my boyfriend, Alex, the friends I’ve left behind in America, my family in Germany (my father, pictured at top, is in the Air Force) and, of course, my family in Corona, Calif. The friends that have been with me since high school, the friends from college I could no longer imagine life without, and the latest additions from university in the UK all have a special place in my heart; in fact, my heart feels full enough to burst with happiness and love. I’m thankful to be writing this column, I’m thankful for the opportunity to live in one of the world’s greatest cities, and most importantly, I’m thankful to live in this beautiful, messy world.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

— Taylor Milam ‘14

Read Taylor Milam’s previous Torero Life Abroad stories, A City Full of Life, Settling into London and Introduction.

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