Among many things that I hope I could have it in here, one of them would always be having an American family that would treat us like a family or at least kind enough to having us for some of their special occasions, like Independence Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas. I always love to blend with the locals and with these “so American” event, I just want to experience it with the them (I pictured it like in the movies). Then I keep saying that to Ara. “Can we have a family like that? How to find them?”, all of the sudden he just realized that there’s a program in UMass that make it possible for international students to have like a foster family in here…! Long story short, Ara met Ruiping at SMAST – which turned out that Ruiping knows a lot about networking to meet American families that love to expose international students with American culture.
Last Thursday, we, along with Ruiping, went to Mike and Nancy’s house in Westport to have a Thanksgiving dinner. Ruiping is very close with this family, she’s already be the part of the family for 6 years now – that Mike and Nancy refer Ruiping as their own daughter. Sweet. And I couldn’t be more thankful to meet Mike and Nancy family, as they’re really kind and gave their warm welcome to our family to join their special feast. A little background of them: Mike works as a priest in Church and Nancy was a homeschooling mother of their three sons (which now all in college and work). Both are having such a glowing face (that I could interpret as having a good heart) and me & Ara agree to say that they are aging gracefully.
They have a beautiful house, one with a greenhouse style filled with ivys, avocados, cactus and herbs. They also have a mini garden that on summertime produce many kind of berries, peaches, pears, apples, watermelon and even pumpkin (on fall)….!! Too bad that in winter the garden looked pretty much like a ‘mess’, but still a beautiful ones.
What makes me even “hysterical” is to learn that they’re having a private access just to literally jump to the river that located at their backyard, and they can do kayaking and canoeing in the warmer days. I MEAN, REALLY… This is so dreamy; the right-sized home with mini garden and access to river, it’s just what I always dream to have (along with a little farm too – so I could have fresh eggs every couple of days, banyak maunya yak).
Back to the dinner… The dinner was began with some prayers, which we hold our hands one to each other, and Steve (Mike’s older brother) said the prayers. After that we sat down together (except Azka who couldn’t stay still and rejected any kind of foods I offered), and began the feast the Thanksgiving must-have meals: Roasted Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans casserole, gravy, cranberry sauce, pecan pumpkins pie, and homemade butter rolls. All is the delicious…!! I’m not exaggerating, it is all good (but please don’t compare this to Indonesian Lebaran meals!).
What I love more about the gathering was that I noticed that none of the member of the families are busy with their gadget. None (at least for 4 hours I’m with them). Even after the meals, they have the tradition to play board games which I found really great activity for the whole family. So everybody was really interacting with each other, in person, not through texts and emoticons. Isn’t what we lack of these days?
Anyway, good day, good meals, good friends and family. Alhamdulillah. After that, we went to Chang’s place for “Thanksgiving dinner” with SMAST friends.