Marcus Samuelsson says, “I love Thanksgiving because it is a holiday centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.” So when my American roommate invited me to her house on Thanksgiving, I decided after much thought that it will be better to spend the holidays with everyone than alone. As a bonus, there as the opportunity to travel to a new city and some new places. So, I agreed to go home with her.
It was a 10 hour drive (634 miles) from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Carlsbad, New Mexico. It’s fun to drive anywhere and my roommate Elise drove the whole way. Road commute in Bangladesh can be very tedious.
On the morning of 25 November we packed up and left. Any tour without songs and chatting would be boring. The songs, the conversation, the philosophy of life, and the wonderful nature left behind little by little, including mountains, lakes, rows, and rows of green trees, all brought profound self-realisation.
house at night. I met Elisa’s father, mother, grandmother, and a special pet called “Bear”. She was very decent and very affectionate.
After a rest, we had dinner and then sat talking to everyone for a long time. Elisa’s mother is an outstanding musician. She plays the piano very well. I was fascinated to hear her play before going to bed at night. For the first time I realised that music is excellent therapy. Just listening to the piano for a while is enough to relieve your fatigue throughout the day. Now I often listen to piano on YouTube or Spotify at night.
The next day was Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving did not become a public holiday until the federal government took over. During the mid-nineteenth century, when divisional tensions prevailed, Sarah Joseph Haley, editor of the popular magazine Goddess’s Lady’s Book, proposed the day as “National Day for Unity.” She eventually won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day) National Day. As the country has become more urbanised and family members have moved farther away, Thanksgiving Day has become an occasion to be together, like our Eid.
The holidays are full of legends and symbols. Thanksgiving usually includes traditional turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.
We have some misconceptions about American culture from what we see in Hollywood, Bollywood, and the latest Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. But after living here, your perception will change a lot. They also take care of their elderly parents. They like to spend time with their parents and family. They also have an amicable relationship with their parents. What do we usually do back home? Eat, drink, sleep, chat, just like here. I have played various knowledge games or word games here, which seemed very nice to me.
My roommate is a very wonderful girl. After going there, I understood why she is lovely. Her father, mother, and grandmother are all warm-hearted. Very friendly. When you grow up in such a family, it is natural that you will be a person with a great mind. I still wonder how easily they adopted a stranger from outside. Their sense of life and their ability to make people part of their family amazed me.
The next morning we had breakfast and set off for the Guadalupe Mountains hike. After about 45 minutes’ drive, we reached there. We took water, some light but energising food for lunch, and extra jackets. Most people in the Guadalupe Mountains come here to travel to the highest point in Texas. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is an American national park located east of El Paso in West Texas and southeast of New Mexico. Among the mountains here is Guadalupe Peak, the highest mountain in Texas at 6,749 feet (2667 meters).
Guadalupe is bordered on the east and north by the Pecos River Valley and the Llano Estacado, south by the Delaware Mountains, and on the west by the Sacramento Mountains. It will take you 7-8 hours to hike about 8.5(rounds) miles. About 188,833 tourists visit here every year. The park is a favorite of many hikers, and even the New York Times has recognised it as a “hiker’s paradise.” The scene is in front of my eyes now. I’ve only read it in books and seen it in movies or on TV. I didn’t think I would be able to enjoy such an opportunity ever. The famous saying came to mind, “Travel makes a person humble. She knows how small she is compared to the world.” There is also a record book here. You can come and write something if you want. The three of us wrote about our feelings. We got up on Sunday morning, had breakfast, said goodbye to everyone, and left for Tulsa.
It is difficult to say whether there has ever been anyone who was not satisfied with the joy of creation. It is even more challenging to find someone who has not found comfort in sharing that joy with close friends. And so I sit down to write this travelogue. Many things are lost in the depths of life, but some things remain in someone’s heart forever. I have some memorable moments on this trip, saw some beautiful places, and spent time with some wonderful people. I will end with a quote, ‘No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his own, familiar pillow.’ Lin Yutang