Vullnet Voca, YES’14
There are several holidays that YES students experience during their exchange and Thanksgiving is, undoubtedly, one of the most memorable ones for each one of us. I always recall last year’s Thanksgiving with distant nostalgia for my family who made sure to teach me the real meaning of Thanksgiving. According to them, Thanksgiving was not about the Pilgrims or the Natives, but for showing our gratitude for everything we had, as my host mother would say “it was the most selfless day of the year.” So last year, my host family and I packed up everything and drove off to the nearest Walmart, we wanted to celebrate the most selfless day of the year with the employees there who had to work during the holiday, preparing for the selfishness-driven Black Friday. That was one of the most important lessons that I have been given during my stay over in the States.
This year, alumni from Kosovo wanted to do something similar. On Thanksgiving Day, we packed up our stuff and went to visit the elderly in Pristina’s nursing home. For one day, we decided to become their family and put a smile on their faces by spending time with them. While the elderly were eating, we made sure to play, sing and laugh with them. It was really amazing to observe the other alumni, as well as myself, blend in right away and act as if we were spending time with our very own grandparents. For me the highlight of the day was when we were hugging them, saying our goodbyes and they started expressing their gratitude.
“Alumni activities like this always make me feel very happy because it only takes me a couple of hours to make someone else’s whole week” remarked a fellow alumna, and I couldn’t agree more.