In this four-part series, international students recount memories of their first Thanksgiving. The second installment is on junior Chloé Collinwood. Born in Radlett, England, Collinwood moved to the U.S. in 2012, where her American mother’s family lived.
Q: Did you celebrate Thanksgiving before you came to the U.S.?
A: My mum’s American, so when I was about 5 (years old) we did Thanksgiving. We just did it randomly and then forgot about it.
Q: What was it like?
A: We had some friends (over) and ate ham (because turkey isn’t super popular in England) and potatoes.
Q: Did any other English people celebrate Thanksgiving?
A: Not at all. Some people didn’t even know what it was.
Q: What did you expect an American Thanksgiving to be like?
A: I just expected there to be a lot of food and pie, and a ton of turkey. I hadn’t really eaten turkey before I moved here. I had never had pumpkin pie either. I had my first pumpkin pie two years ago.
Q: What did you do for your first American Thanksgiving?
A: I kind of have an American adoptive family, (which includes) my godfathers. So we go over to their (house) every year; we have our close-knit group of (about 14) friends. We aren’t religious, so we don’t say prayers. But we do go around the table and say something we are thankful for.
(During my first Thanksgiving, we ate) a ton of potatoes and food. I got introduced to sweet potatoes, and someone put marshmallows on the sweet potatoes. That was just weird. Usually I like to keep my food savory, so I don’t like sweet potatoes anyway. But they were eating (the potatoes) like a main course. I have no clue (why).
Q: How was your first Thanksgiving different than you expected?
A: I didn’t eat as much pie as I thought I would. There were only like two pies and I expected there to be like four or five.
—By Larkin Barnard-Bahn