A Thanksgiving to Remember

Last Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving at SIT. We each made a dish and we planned to have everything ready by 4pm (we moved the time up from 6 because of the curfew). It was nice to sit down with everyone and just relax, instead of sitting around the table typing out ISP’s.

On Sunday I had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving for a second time. One of my fellow SIT classmates had met a girl named Sybil who is an American who is currently working in Tunis. She works for the American Corner which is an organization that works to foster connections between Americans and Tunisians. Sybil invited my friend to a Thanksgiving event on Sunday and in turn my friend invited all of the SIT students.

Those of us that decided to go left around noon. We had directions but since the house was located inside the medina we ended up getting a bit lost. Thankfully we asked a very nice woman for directions and she made sure we found our way. She was so concerned that we would not make it to the right house she had us call the girl who was hosting the party and spoke to her so she could at least walk us halfway there.

Taylor and I arrived before the other SIT students that were coming and we felt a bit overwhelmed. The room was full of people and we did not recognize a single face. We soon found people to talk to and found that even thought we were the only college students present,we could hold our own with this crowd.

There were people from multiple countries – France, Germany, Egypt, some fellow Americans and many Tunisians. We even recognized one girl who we had met at the organization Cogite. We spent some time talking to her. Everyone that I met was working such interesting jobs. I met two people who work for Search for Common Ground. They are one of my favorite organizations. The combine peace-building with media. If you have not heard of them I suggest you look them up.

One of the girls who was co-hosting the party, Megan, actually worked for Search for Common Ground. She was friend’s with Sybil, which is how Sybil heard about the party. I asked her about how she ended up working for Search. Megan graduated just a year and a half ago and had been working in D.C. but didn’t enjoy the policy side of things so she applied to Search. It was nice to hear from someone who was not much older than me doing something I would love to be doing.

I also met several people who teach English for AMIDEAST and I even met a girl from south Jersey! That is where my family is originally from so we bonded over that. She is in Tunisia visiting some friends for a few weeks. She is currently working in New York City for one of my favorite think tanks, the Institute for Economics and Peace. I only got to talk with her for a little but we did manage to exchange emails.

There were also two Egyptians at the party. One worked for Search and another was an international human rights lawyer. I talked to him for quite some time and asked him as many questions as I could think of. Currently he was working on drafting the constitution of Libya, but previously he had worked on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Criminal Court for Cambodia. He gave me lots of helpful advice for how to find a job in international law and what steps I should be taking now.

We ended up staying at the party for about four hours. We ate delicious food and we even had pie! I finally got to have some pumpkin pie. It made Thanksgiving feel a little more complete.

We didn’t really want to leave, but we knew we had to get going so we could get home in time for curfew. We said goodbye to Sybil on the way out and she assured us if we ever needed anything to just ask. She had really wanted to do the SIT Tunisia program but it had been cancelled that semester because of the revolution.

We left with full bellies and happy hearts. It was inspiring to met so many people who are doing such great work. I can’t wait until I can join them. This semester had definitely helped me focus a bit more on my goals after college. In a few weeks when this semester ends I will have only a year left. Although I will miss my friends and professors, I know that when the time comes I will be ready to graduate.

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