By Alba Kondirolli (YES 2011-2012, Kosovo, hosted by CIEE in Altamont, KS)
As one of the most important holidays in the American culture, Thanksgiving has a special place in the hearts of many alumni. Apart from the delicious food, Thanksgiving brings back memories of meeting with extended family, creating new friendships, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and, most importantly, being thankful for the exchange year.
A potluck Thanksgiving dinner is now a tradition in the YES Alumni community in Kosovo. Each year, our alumni try to recreate the Thanksgiving spirit and gather to reminisce about their exchange experiences while eating delicious homemade American food. This year, seven alumni from different generations gathered with American Councils staff for a celebration held at the American Councils office in Prishtina on November 27. They brought home-cooked dishes, including mashed potatoes with gravy, hummus, brownies, banana bread, and fried chicken. They exchanged memories from their first Thanksgiving experiences and from their exchange year, and talked about future plans for the YES alumni community. Though they did not have a turkey to enjoy, the alumni expressed gratitude for being part of this community and for the positive changes that their exchange year has brought to their lives.
On the same day in another city, Prizren, Edona Lubovci (YES 2018-2019, hosted by Aspect in Burleson, TX) organized a Thanksgiving potluck dinner at the local American Corner and invited students from her high school to participate. Edona taught her classmates about Thanksgiving traditions and engaged them in playing American board games such as UNO and Monopoly.