Friday, November 27, 2015

     My time here in Swansea is officially winding down.
Monday I will go with friends to see the Russian Ballet perform Nutcracker.  Next Saturday I will go to the Bath Christmas Markets, and then I will have a little over one week left in Swansea before I head home.
     I am excited to see my friends and family at home, but the more I think about it, the more I realize how much I will miss Wales.
     Wednesday my flat had an International Food/Thanksgiving Night.  There were around 20 of us there, and it was wonderful.  Everyone brought food from his or her home country, or just something yummy, and we had a huge spread!
     I made Pumpkin Pie and Stuffing.  We had a Caribbean dish called Bakes (fried dough with a delicious cheesy stuffing), a Finnish Apple Tart dessert, a variety of Spicy Chinese Dishes and Curry, and lots of other interesting new things. 
     When talking with another American, we decided that having international food at Thanksgiving was very proper as the first thanksgiving consisted of food that would have been foreign to the Pilgrims.
     After a delicious meal, we began to play games and even had a mini Salsa Dancing party.  And as we broke apart later with people heading to their various homes, I realized that this might have been my favorite Thanksgiving. 
     My normal Thanksgiving at home consists of my family going to a family friend’s house, and eating and watching football all day.  I love that time with our two families, but this was special because it was so many families coming together.
     Laughter and accents flew around the table, and food was plenty.  No one was worried about what they were wearing, whether or not the dish they had brought was perfect, or strategizing for shopping the next day.  We were just a group of friends living and loving life together.  It is moments like that one that I will miss.
     The next day, yesterday, a big group of friends and I went to Mumbles, a little local area near Swansea, to a Christmas Parade.  It was not overly fancy, and the turning on of the lights was, quite honestly, a little disappointing, but trying to walk to a bus stop along the coast was a lot of fun.
     Again, nothing special happened, except fun.  The weather was just cool enough to keep you from getting overly warm as you walked, the clouds were low over the city lights across the bay, so the lights twinkled on the buildings and then again in the clouds.  There wasn’t much of a breeze, so the ocean looked like black glass with occasional bumps and ridges.
     It was a beautiful evening filled with laughter and fun.  Again, I will miss these moments.
     I don’t mean to say that I cannot have that type of fun in the States, but the people will be different.  My friends here are returning to their home countries shortly after I do.  I am sure we will all continue to stay in touch, but our laughter will echo through a computer instead of down a crowded street to the beach.
     I have learned so much since coming to Wales, quite a bit of it academic in nature, although I know this blog hasn’t focused on the academic side as much.  I know I will return home in a few short weeks a changed person.  More confident, more courageous, more willing to “go with the flow”, and perhaps more willing to embrace each moment in life as they can be so precious.   

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