A Sport Changes Life Thanksgiving

Posted By: T-John Casiello
Posted On: December 6th, 2016
Attending: Letterkenny Institute of Technology

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because it reminds us to give thanks and to count our blessings. Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realize how blessed and lucky we are.”

This past week was thanksgiving, a Holiday in the States where families get together, eat as much turkey, potatoes, and mac n cheese as possible. Then, letting it all digest while watching some NFL next to a nice warm fire. Well, that is at least how my family usually does it. Therefore, it is probably my second favorite holiday next to Christmas so it was a weird feeling knowing I would be missing it for the first time ever.

Moreover, Sport Changes Life organized, as they do every year, a big get together for all the Victory Scholars in Belfast. So on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving Jack and I made the trip from Letterkenny to Belfast. Normally, it’s a two-hour ride, but on this day there was a bad accident and since the roads are so narrow we stood in traffic for a couple hours. However, we finally got to Belfast and checked in at the hotel. One by one scholars began arriving. It was great seeing them all again and catching up. Some of them I haven’t seen since our first week of training so it was really awesome.

The next two days were filled with different events. One thing we did was volunteer at a homeless shelter and help process donated clothes to see what was good and what wasn’t. I must say I will never look at a homeless person the same way again after that experience. It was a very humbling experience to see and talk with these individuals. Another thing we did was a scholar photo shoot. I will leave it at that. It was good craic though!

Then, on Thanksgiving night they invited loads of people and all the scholars for a proper Thanksgiving feast. I must be honest I didn’t have high expectations because after all it is Ireland and they do not celebrate Thanksgiving. But I will admit it was fantastic. They had turkey, mashed potatoes, and mac n cheese. Just like home. It was surely a good Thanksgiving dinner with some great people. It is one I will not ever forget.

For some reason, I kept thinking to myself during the event, “Jeez who would have thought this time last year that I would be eating Thanksgiving dinner with people I never met before in… Ireland?!” It is surreal how much things have changed for me over the course a year. I have learned so much and met so many great people. Many which will be friends for life.

Lastly, I am very thankful for Sport Changes Life and the Victory Scholars for making this an awesome and quite unforgettable experience. Also, my family and friends back home for always being there for me. Looking forward to seeing you guys at Christmas!

In my next blog, I have a good story from Thanksgiving that is so good it will be getting its own separate blog! Stay tuned!

“Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last.”

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