November 13, 2018

TAARIQ | Thankful for Thanksgiving

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For the first time in a long time, many Cornell Students have something to look forward too. That one time of the year where we go home to fill our bellies and calm our minds. Although we must never forget the truth of this restorative holiday, and the genocide of a race of people whose graves we have built this country on, we shouldn’t hold back our joy to be reunited — even if it’s briefly — with friends and family. We hunker down to complete prelims and final assignments with our last drops of willpower, for on the last Thursday of November, we feast.

We pack up our things, bear whatever tiring form of transportation we choose, arrive at our homes, drop our bags and collapse on the floor. We reunite with our families and stay on our best behaviors hoping they will spoil us since we are finally home. We take long hot showers, play with our pets and fall asleep for 11 hours in a big comfy bed in a room that turned into storage. We get to see our friends in the flesh and unload all the drama that happened in the last few weeks that you couldn’t fit into your FaceTime calls. The day before Thanksgiving we help prepare the food or clean the house for hours while trying not to sneak bites. On the day of, we see distant relatives who give us awkward hugs and kisses and consistently ask us, “How is Cornell?” to which you reply, “Great!”, knowing that you left your last prelim more happy that it was over than confident. After waiting extra long for a guest to arrive you finally fill your plate with food, and sit with your favorite cousins at the kids’ table (who actually wants to make it to the adult table?). As you chow down your family decides to share embarrassing memories or nostalgic stories, bringing up things you swore to suppress.

Soon enough you have finished your first… second… and third plate. We are then hit with a wave of fatigue and retreat to a comfy corner, but get whisked back into the festivities to play board games and eat dessert. The adults are rowdy and are either getting along or going back and forth. We grab yet another cup to fill with sparkling cider — or wine if the adults don’t notice. We get pulled back and forth by relatives asking us questions about our grades, love lives or plans after graduation (none of which you know the answer to).

The day after we are forced to wake up early and clean up, and the few lucky ones who traveled to a relative’s home gets to sleep in. Throughout the weekend, we eat all of the leftovers: turkey with mashed potatoes again, turkey sandwich, turkey and pasta, turkey and something. Some of us will go shopping, some of us will continue sleeping and some of us will get bored. On the last day, we rush to pack-up our things, probably leaving with more than we came with. We get back on the plane, train, bus or cars, back to Ithaca and the friends we were probably in contact with the whole time. When you get back everyone has spent their Thanksgiving a little different, sharing stories about their family or friends from back home, someone they visited, or from their time still on campus.

On this special holiday the one thing we have to remember is to be thankful for what we have. Our friends, family, school, health and more. We have to remember those of us on this campus, and in our community around Ithaca and back home may not be as fortunate as us to celebrate. With gratitude and thankfulness come giving, so I encourage you to do whatever you can to give back to your communities.

One opportunity is through Cornell Students for Hunger Relief’s Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. Thousands of Tompkins County residents are food insecure, and may find themselves without a turkey on Thanksgiving. Cornell Students for Hunger Relief, a program of the Public Service Center, is raising funds for Tompkins County food pantries so that they can provide turkeys to local families in need.

Aminah Taariq is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I Spy runs every other Wednesday this semester. She can be reached at ataariq@cornellsun.com