This is probably the fifth version of my “First-Year Thanksgiving” post. Each time I decided I didn’t like what I wrote, mostly because it’s hard to describe what going home for Thanksgiving is like. Basically, it was weird. Sure it was nice to be home, to see family and friends, but part of me missed Kenyon. My Thanksgiving story is divided into three parts: pre-thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner, and post-Thanksgiving.
I drove home to Chicago on Saturday with three people I had never met before. They were perfectly nice, it was just strange to be confined to a small space for six hours with strangers. Tuesday I went back to my high school to answer questions about Kenyon to prospective students and applicants. Admissions gave me a list of 40 or 50 students that expressed interest in the college. Two showed up. And they were two friends of mine whom I had told to show up. I went and visited a few teachers, but overall they were thoroughly unexcited to see me. So I went home and waited patiently for most of my friends to come home (most of whom I didn’t see until after Thanksgiving).
I come from a large Irish family, so Thanksgiving dinner usually consists of 20 to 25 people, sitting at various tables around the house. I prepared myself to repeat my speech about how school was over and over again. But for the first time in years, there were only 10 of us. And with five of them coming from my house, it was a surprisingly peaceful evening. Sure, I still talked about Kenyon a little bit, but I wasn’t constantly reciting my answers to the most generic of questions.
After Thanksgiving dinner, my family met up with my cousins (who were elsewhere for dinner) and almost right away they asked me those basic questions. However, they responded quickly with all of the crazy antics their roommates pulled. From the crowd of mostly Kenyon alums, I heard about my aunt’s roommate that kept a Boa constrictor in McBride, my uncle’s, who he says would buy apple cider and put condoms over the lids to make it airtight and allow it to ferment, and my dad who claims “nothing ridiculous ever happened in Lewis.”
The next day is when I finally met up with all of my friends and we recounted our tales from the first few months away. It reminded me how nice it is at Kenyon. My friends complained about how they couldn’t get into a certain frat party; I told them that Kenyon has parties open to all of campus. They breathed sighs of relief that they had a week off from attempting to do meal-plan math; I gloat that not only am I on an unlimited meal plan, but that I don’t even swipe in to the dining hall. When friends from Big Ten schools recount nights of walking a couple miles to get around because they missed their bus, I realize that I leave my dorm at 9:37 a.m. for my 9:40 class. Needless to say they were mad when I kept mentioning things like that, and they often responded by asking how our football team is.