Dining with family and expressing gratitude...

Tuesday, 28. November 2017

...are two important features of an American Thanksgiving celebration, but they’re also part of daily practice at the Ecole. So, we wondered, “What can we do to make Thanksgiving special here?” Two students, Narra F. and Allegra P., took on this challenge and, with an eager bunch of assistants, set out to create an Ecole evening to remember.
Photos here

Chef Laszlo Istvan and the kitchen team, assisted by one representative from each Ecole family, prepared a true Thanksgiving feast. Meanwhile, several students, helpers, and teachers baked traditional American desserts – pumpkin pies and apple crisps. At dinnertime, students and family heads arrived to find the Esssaal transformed. Tables were pushed together so families could share the meal, and autumn decorations and candles set a festive mood. During Schweigezeit– the quiet time at the start of each Ecole meal – all were asked to take a moment to reflect on what they’re thankful for and then share it in a round as the appointed turkey carvers started on their task.

Food was not the only thing that had to be prepared for Thanksgiving. In Schulgemeinde – our weekly school assembly – students learned about the complicated history between white Europeans and Native Americans. Although the first Thanksgiving was a snapshot of peace and cooperation between two groups, the larger story is one of oppression, exploitation and the marginalization of the indigenous people of the Americas. While celebrating the theme of gratitude, students were also asked to remember and honor Native American people and cultures.

It’s worth noting that neither of the two Thanksgiving organizers is American. When asked why it was so important to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, Narra reflected, “Everyone works together. It’s just a nice atmosphere, and people are happy, and the food is good.” Both students also shared why they were thankful this year. Narra, taking the long view, replied, “I’m thankful for my whole time at the Ecole. This is my last Thanksgiving here.” Allegra, looking around the Esssaal at all the smiling faces, answered, “Everything. I’m very happy in this moment.”