This past week has been an extravaganza of food, friends, and more food. While many from the cohort took off over thanksgiving break, some of us stayed back and made the most of things happening on campus, and beyond.

7:30AM: Walked to the Thanksgiving Parade with Brandon and Kelsey

The streets, usually bustling with people walking briskly to class and work, are eerily empty. Kelsey, Brandon, and I walk to the Rocky Steps to watch the Thanksgiving Parade; it is the oldest parade in the United States. We reach early to get a good viewing spot, some free coffee, and free food. And as with most thanksgiving parade plans, we didn’t know what we should have. Philly weather has plans for the balloons; they do not go up. There are no (free) viewing spots with seats, but when the free coffee is found, all falls into place. And of course, the thing about going somewhere – anywhere – with your cohort fellows is you never run out of things to talk about.

10:30AM: Walk back to GSE for the thanksgiving feast

On our walk back to GSE, we take in some stellar views of the city and, as always, complain about not doing enough. After muscling through the wind, and some frizzy hat-hair, we walk into Stitler Hall where we meet the lovely Dr. Amy Benedict. Alongside some fresh apple crisp (that we all were eyeing), Dr. Ameena Ghaffar Kucher has board games and joins us with her wonderful family.

1:30PM: Run back home to cook for Emily’s dinner

I run home in time to make parathas for Emily’s thanksgiving potluck dinner. Parathas are a South-Asian food-jewel. A deadly combination of dough and potato (or other stuffings), though not the easiest to make for someone who is completely out of practice. You have to make sure they are round and that the potato-to-dough ratio is just the right balance. So, on my walk back home, I strategise.

Ten parathas (decently round) later, I am off to Emily’s.

5:00PM: Emily Nielson’s Thanksgiving Dinner

Emily’s place is warm and welcoming (as is she!). A huge box of craft supplies lies on the floor – we are about to make hand turkeys! This was the first IEDP-craft endeavour, and it was quite hilarious. We were guided by a vibrant five-year old; her thanksgiving spirit and love was the highlight of my evening. The other highlight, of course, was watching two IEDPers take up a mac ‘n’ cheese mission in the kitchen, with one teaching the other.

10:00PM: Walk back home — only to see each other, again, soon!

As I put my day into words, I am filled with deep gratitude for the warm sense of community in the IEDP. The ability to harbor trust and respect, the ability to build a community and sustain relationships, is immensely valuable no matter where we live, or work. These aren’t skills specific to a particular place or profession — these are values that will make our lives more meaningful no matter where we go.