Students celebrate away from home

Laura Testino

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For many students, the end of the final Tuesday class brings the promise of a trip home to feast upon a variety of holiday favorites with family. For others, circumstances cause them to celebrate and give thanks in new ways.

Julio Gomez, a doctoral candidate in secondary education, has spent the past three Thanksgivings in Tuscaloosa instead of making the international trip back home to visit his family in Colombia. He said he has enjoyed visiting the homes of his friends’ families in nearby areas to become better acquainted with the American holiday.

Gomez said American Thanksgiving values relate t the values celebrated during Christmas in Colombia but was surprised by how welcoming strangers can be over the holiday.

“I like the feeling of being welcome. Like [family of friends] maybe have seen me once or twice ever, and it’s like you’re welcome, and they’re very generous. And I love having seconds. I think that’s great,” he said.

Due to distance and practice for the Iron Bowl, Thanksgiving traditions for The University of Alabama’s football team are slightly altered as well. Practice is earlier on Thursday, providing some players who live a short distance away the chance to spend part of the holiday with their families.

“Then we have the other players that don’t have the opportunity to go home all come to the coach’s house,” coach Nick Saban said. “We usually have 12-15 [players] at our house to have Thanksgiving dinner with us, and some of the other coaches do the same thing with some of their position players. Then we have Thanksgiving dinner on Friday when everybody comes back.”

Kevin Norwood, a senior wide receiver from D’Iberville, Miss., won’t be returning home for Thanksgiving this year. While the opportunity exists to attend dinner with the coach, he sees staying in Tuscaloosa as a chance to cook food himself.

“For the last couple years it was me, Kenny Bell, Eddie Lacy and DeQuan Menzie. We made our own Thanksgiving one year. We had a lot of fun. That’s what we do,” Norwood said.