By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
I grew up thinking I had family that lived in the Philippines, Guam, Orlando, Fla. and Los Angeles. Nothing more, nothing less. And I believed that for 18 years.
When the time came for my me and my parents to decide where I would be going for college, I sat them down in our living room. I had applied to colleges all over the U.S. and was fortunate enough to be accepted to most of them. It was a surprise when my parents started listing off names of family members I never knew existed that lived nearby certain universities I was accepted to. The conversation went something like this:
Parents: Oh, Seattle University? You have cousins that live there.
Parents: You have an aunt that lives in New Jersey.
Parents: NYU and Fordham? We have family in New York.
Me: Oh my goodness!
Parents: Chaminad University? We have family in Honolulu, too.
I was dumbfounded.
Nonetheless, as confused as I was at this sudden revelation of our extended family tree, I was all the more excited to go to college. Yes, I’d have somewhere to stay during breaks, I thought to myself.
Thanksgiving weekend was the first opportunity I had to stay with my new found family. They live in a town outside Newark, N.J., so I took the bus from Boston to Newark Penn Station. It was a slow bus ride, prolonged by the holiday traffic and made longer by the anticipation I felt. I was going to meet these family members for the first time. All I knew was that my dad and the woman I was meeting were cousins, and that she and her husband had three children, all around my age.
When I got to Penn Station, I nervously stood in the cold waiting for them to pick me up. I was looking for a turquoise Nissan Altima, according to my new second cousin. Once it pulled up to the pick-up area, I saw my cousins waving out the window, smiling. And with that, all my anxiety was erased. They seem like nice people, I thought.
And I was right. From there we hit off pretty well. We have similar tastes in music and hobbies, and we like to eat, as demonstrated by our appetite during Thanksgiving dinner. Apparently, they didn’t know of my existence either. My dad’s cousin (their mother) had only informed them just recently. So that became another thing we had in common.
Like every person who’s never been to Guam, they asked me what Guam was like and how I like BU. In return, I asked the similar questions about New Jersey and their schools.
There was never a dull moment during the weekend. We went out every day, whether it was to go Black Friday shopping or going to New York City for the first time—which, by the way, was AMAZING. I’ve always wanted to visit the city, and now I can check that off my bucket list.
It was quite depressing when I had to go. I knew I’d miss them badly. But I’ve already made plans to return for spring break, so it wasn’t all that bad.
So this Thanksgiving, I was thankful for the five seemingly new family members I gained, who took me in and made me feel as loved and appreciated as if I’d known them my whole life. Surely, lots of people have relatives, however distant, they’ve never met. Go meet yours.
By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
Turkeys are running for their lives and college students will get a much-needed reprieve from out grueling studies. Most of us are going home for the weekend while others are staying in Boston. No matter where you spend your Thanksgiving, there’s always an outlet to release your holiday spirit. Here’s a list of ways to make your Thanksgiving special:
Family and friends
When was the last time you saw your friends and family back home? With classes put on hold, Thanksgiving break is the perfect opportunity to catch up with everyone very close to your heart. Hug them, tell them about your classes and ask them about their lives. Communicate and cherish. Even if you’re staying in town, there’s always the internet and your phone as a medium of connection.
Cook and eat
I mean, of course.
What’s Thanksgiving without food, right? Cook and eat to your heart’s (or stomach’s) content. I don’t know about you, but I really miss having a kitchen. I was at a friend’s apartment the other day and actually got to dice vegetables and cook food. I even washed dishes. Call me crazy, but I actually had fun doing those chores because I haven’t done them in months.
But yes, cook and eat. Have your parents make you your favorites, and maybe even grandma can make you some treats to take back to your dorm. Enjoy it because before you know it, you’ll be out of that kitchen as soon as break ends.
Even if you’re staying in Boston, don’t fret. Maybe your friends have apartments to cook at. If not, there are tons of amazing eateries in town. Cannolis, anybody? Check out Mike’s Pastry, my personal favorite place to go if I want to satiate my sweet tooth.
In the midst of celebrating this holiday of gratitude, it’s almost impossible not to think about those who are not as fortunate to have as much as we do. So why not express our gratitude for what we have in the best way possible: by giving back. Volunteering is a great way to spend your break (or part of it). Every little bit of kindness counts. There are many opportunities for volunteerism, so it’s almost impossible not to find one that doesn’t fit your schedule. Take time off to celebrate the holiday at a soup kitchen or participate in a food drive. It’ll make your holiday even more special and will lighten up someone’s day.
Black Friday shopping
If turkey and mashed potatoes haven’t made you sick to you stomach, consider going shopping on perhaps the busiest and rowdiest day of the year: Black Friday. This is the perfect opportunity to snag deals on normally expensive goods. Need a television for your dorm or a game console for those lazy, boring winter nights? You’ll probably be able to get them for a fraction of what you would pay off-season. Plus, you can shop for Christmas presents, since they’ll be way cheaper, and maybe an extra winter coat or two.
If you seriously run out of things to do, studying would be the perfect filling to your empty pockets of time. Finals are in a month, so you’ve got nothing to lose by planning ahead.
Have an awesome Thanksgiving, everyone!
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
I was raised celebrating traditional American holidays—at least, they seemed traditional to me. But seeing as my mother is Jamaican and my father is Indian, their views certainly impacted my view of a traditional holiday. Living in Miami, I grew up alongside Hispanic culture infused into everything, even without me noticing the impact of its influence.
With the most American tradition of all time, Thanksgiving, coming up within a matter of days, I’m beginning to notice that nothing I’ve really experienced in my hometown has been truly American.
Every year for Thanksgiving, my family and I would walk to our neighbor’s house in the Miami fall (if you can call it that) weather, wearing sleeveless dresses and open toe shoes. As soon as we stepped foot into my neighbors’ house, Spanglish emerged from all corners. The smell of arroz con gandules, jamon, ensalada de papa and maduros filled the room, as well as turkey, of course.
I could never understand how the smell could make my mouth water so much until I sunk my teeth into the chicken and realized it was because I was in heaven. I had the best of two worlds―one American and one Hispanic. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This year, for the first time, I won’t be able to taste delicious flan, pastel de choclo or drink sangria, and it just might be torture. For the first time, I’m going to be in New England for Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate for the very traditional cranberry sauce, turkey with gravy and stuffing Thanksgiving. While being in Massachusetts gives me the opportunity to finally experience a traditional Thanksgiving, turns out I’ll be having an Indian Thanksgiving instead. Yes, it’ll be my first too.
To be honest, I have no idea what to really expect. Maybe the turkey will have chili powder on it and the house will smell like spices and curry. And in the absence of Spanish, Urdu would be the dominant language in the house. Would we pray in English? Would we get out the prayer rugs or skip that ritual all together? For sure we would not end the prayer with “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
One thing is certain: although the last time I saw my Indian relatives was when I went to India about six years ago, they are still my family, like the ones I left back home. They probably don’t speak Spanish, eat smoked ham or allow me to wear sleeveless dresses (although I wouldn’t want to in this cold New England weather), but with them, I’ll be able to make new traditions.
I’ll relish over the tomato chutney, samosa and vegetarian biryani (with a tall glass of water on the side). I may not be able to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” as I usually do every year, but it’s possible I can persuade them, surely for the children to enjoy. (Okay, and a small part of it for me, too.)
Whatever kind of Thanksgiving you’re having—whether it’s a Hispanic, Indian or a Charlie Brown one—be sure to give thanks, indulge in amazing food and make new traditions.
By Katie Doyle, Food Editor
I haven’t had a real Thanksgiving since I was in elementary school. Even before I gave up meat in the sixth grade, I’d opt for Stauffer’s macaroni and cheese and Pillsbury dinner rolls instead of turkey and gravy, a tradition I’ve pretty much kept up with since then.
If you’re thinking it sounds like a pretty disappointing dinner, you’re right. And now that I’ve nixed dairy this year, that go-to Thanksgiving meal that doesn’t exactly jive with my diet.
Fortunately, my recent transition to veganism has forced me to be creative when it comes to cooking. And, if there’s ever a good time to cook, it’s Thanksgiving. After all, I can’t think of a better way to test out my chef skills than to cook for my family.
But cooking vegan food for omnivores is a tricky task, especially when the typical Thanksgiving fare—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie—is so culturally engrained. After scouring the Internet for recipes and pouring through my vegan cook books, though, I’ve realized that it’s not too hard to imitate traditional Thanksgiving flavors and create a delicious vegan meal.
Even better, you don’t have to be a master chef to whip up some of these Thanksgiving fixings, and if you’re in a kitchen where a Thanksgiving meal is already in the works, you’ll likely have many of the necessary ingredients on hand.
I figured I’d share what I’m cooking for Thanksgiving, and maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to create your own vegan dinner. For starters, these garlic mashed potatoes are sure to be a hit, and in tune with Thanksgiving tradition, why not whip up a cranberry relish to add a hint of sweetness to your side dishes?
For an entree, I recommend a glazed lentil walnut apple loaf. Don’t let the name scare you: although it’s one of the more complex recipes, it’s worth the effort, as you’ll end up with a hearty meal with a perfect balance of savory and sweet. You can even mirror those flavors with this walnut-apple stuffing, which is sure to have everyone reaching across the table for seconds.
For dessert, pumpkin pie brownie bites are sure to be a crowd-pleaser, offering traditional fall flavors complimented by notes of cocoa. Or you can stick with a classic pumpkin pie. And surprisingly, the vegan version is a lot easier to make than the traditional one.
Finally, if you’re dealing with picky relatives who might shy away from vegan food simply because, well, it’s vegan, let me share a strategy I learned last weekend when I was visiting my best friend, an omnivore, in Brooklyn, N.Y..
She took me to one of her favorite spots in East Williamsburg, Dun-Well Donuts.
Dun-Well is an all-vegan cafe and bakery, and their donuts have become insanely popular since its opening. But you don’t find the word vegan anywhere in the store. Consequently, the cafe draws in omnivores and carnivores alike, many of whom enjoy Dun-Well’s donuts without realizing they’re eating vegan donuts.
When you’re cooking for omnivores and carnivores, try nixing the word vegan from the description of your food. Once everyone has enjoyed the meal, you can share your secret, but in the mean time let your food speak for itself. Chances are, you and your family will have a delicious Thanksgiving—without even realizing it’s a vegan one.
Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer
With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, now would be a good time to book your tickets home. If you’re planning on taking the bus, but haven’t yet ventured into South Station yet, listen up! While the bus terminal boasts almost every possible bus company the country has to offer, that doesn’t mean they are all highly esteemed.
My bus company of choice happens to be Bolt Bus. Techincally one word, BoltBus is an offspring of Greyhound that has the motto: bolt for a buck. Of my 24 trips with them, I never paid just one dollar for a ticket. Nonetheless, I did receive three free one-way rides along the way after I signed up for their no-hassle rewards program. The bus isn’t anything special, but I do have to say that the outlets at each seat can be a lifesaver. If you read its review on Yelp, you’ll see that it has its fair share of lovers and haters (just as you would see with any bus company review). But as a heads up, don’t arrive late because your seat will be given away, and don’t expect to get two seats to yourself because they always manage to fill every seat. Also, they board the bus by three groups that are based on how recent you purchased your ticket, so book it early unless you want to sit next to the bathroom in the back. The prices will also go up as it gets closer to the date on which you want to travel.
To add another bus to the shuffle, I feel I should in some way defend Fung Wah. So, we’ve all heard those horror stories about how one of time the back wheels fell off the Fung Wah bus while in motion or how it crashed into a guard rail a few years ago, but much to my mother’s chagrin, I believe it is not quite as dangerous as she thinks. No, the driver isn’t zipping down the I-95 at 110 mph, and no, it doesn’t smell unbearable. Of course it’s no luxury limo, but it fits the bill. Unlike BoltBus, Fung Wah sells tickets for a flat fee of $15. This price never changes, and you can usually rely on them to bring you to New York very last minute. Most customers even buy their ticket on the spot at the Fung Wah ticket counter. On the downside, there are no outlets, however, they have recently introduced WiFi. A big difference between the two is that Fung Wah drops you off in Chinatown in New York City, while Bolt conveniently drops you off at Penn Station.
As for Mega Bus, its double-decker seating arrangement kind of freaks me out. It does travel to more cities than do Fung Wah and Bolt, but I’ve never taken it. In regards to comfort, safety and all that, you’re on your own.
All in all, the ride is pretty much the same. There’s always going to be traffic somewhere in Connecticut, you’ll always fight over the arm rest with the woman next to you, and the bus will always smell like fast food after it stops halfway for a ten minute break. So take it in and try to enjoy!