Exchange Wk13&14 – Thanksgiving and Philly

Once again, the busyness of life means that I haven’t had a chance to write about some of the cool and unique American experience I had from the 14th to 27th of November! Without further ado, let’s jump in.

🎄Christmas Village (X2)🎄

On the 19th of November, some friends and I decided to head to Love Park and City Hall to visit the German Christmas Village. This village is branded as an “authentic German Christmas market”, but on talking to a person from Germany, they said it felt very different.

Anyway, the 19th was the first day that the Christmas Village was opened, but most of the vendors were not prepared, and there were barely any people around! Below is a funny photo of one vendor still constructing their shopfront, and if you look carefully, you can see a drill on the storefront counter.

On the 26th of November, I had the pleasure of catching up with my friends the McKnight’s, where we met up at the Christmas Village. It was a complete transformation (all the stores were actually completed now), and it was packed! Here are some photos:

Afterwards, we head back to their place and I loved sharing a home cooked meal with them (a welcome change from the dinning halls), and played some board games! It was really fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them!

🍽 Friendsgiving 🍽

Australians will likely never have heard of Friendsgiving, which is because barely any of us celebrate Thanksgiving. Anyway, Friendsgiving is where you share a Thanksgiving style meal with your – surprise surprise – friends.

I had the pleasure of celebrating Friendsgiving with my Christian Union family! It was a really special event, and of course, the food was fantastic! We did a potluck dinner, meaning that everyone who was able to brought a meal to share. Without a kitchen, I was limited to brining the drinks!

Here are some photos of the food – there was plenty to go around!

After dinner, we spent some time playing games! Two of my favourite games that we play here include:

  • Empire: This is where each person playing choses an answer to a prompt or question. For example, the prompt might be to name a person. Then, the list of answers get’s read out, and you have to guess who put down that answer. If you guess correctly, that person becomes part of your empire, and helps you guess other people until there is one winner!
  • Signs: This one is hard to explain, but I’ll try! Essentially, each person has a particular sign – mine was a cringy dab… Then, one person starts by signing another person with their sign. That person receives the sign by repeating their sign back to the calling person. All this happens whilst someone in the middle is trying to guess who currently has the ‘sign’. If you guess correctly (by tapping who you think has the sign), the person caught with the sign enters the centre of the circle, and is the next to start guessing.

🦃 Thanksgiving 🦃

On Thanksgiving day (November 24th), I had the pleasure of heading to the Lotspeich’s who graciously invited me into their home to partake in their Thanksgiving dinner. This was definitely a highlight of my trip as I got to enjoy an authentic American Thanksgiving!

Similar to Friendsgiving, the food was amazing:

Although the food was excellent, nothing could beat the company! It was so special to me to spend the day with them, especially as campus was very quiet with most people having gone home! For desert, there was pumpkin pie, as well as Tim Tams that my parents had shipped over to share with friends.

We also spent the night watching the Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants game. It was very fun to watch, and such an American thing to do on Thanksgiving!

⭐️ Other Highlights ⭐️

  • On the 18th, we had the Christian Union Brolympics, where Stanley and I tried to win some party games. We were not very successful…
  • After being disappointed by the empty Christmas Village on the 19th, we went on a tour of the Masonic temple. It was very interesting because I’d never really heard of the Masons before. The architecture inside was stunning, and the different meeting rooms had different themes.
  • After the Masonic temple, we went to Macy’s where inside this shopping centre, they have the Wanamaker Organ, the largest functioning pipe-organ in the world!
  • Started going to Church at Redemption City Church! It is a great service, with kind people, and most importantly, it is helping me grow in my Faith!
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