By Eun LeeBy Eun Lee
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the whole campus is abuzz with discussions of holiday plans. Thanksgiving is an ideal time for everyone in the MIT community to take a well deserved break from work, eat good food, and spend time with family and friends.
Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict plans to spend a quiet Thanksgiving holiday at home with his wife in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “It’s going to be just to the two of us; we do family at Christmas,” he said.
On the traditional New England Thanksgiving menu at the Benedict household is a bread stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, winter squash, and pumpkin pie for dessert.
Benedict plans to take the weekend off from work to catch up with his nonprofessional reading. Some of the books which he hopes to read are Margaret Atwood’s Blind Assassin, winner of the English Booker Prize, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories.
“The holiday is a nice time for us to get some peace and quiet and hope the telephone doesn’t ring,” Benedict said.
While this annual four day autumnal sabbatical may seem mundane to most of us, the Thanksgiving holiday is a unique experience for members of the MIT community who come from other countries.
This will be the first Thanksgiving for Daphne P. Lin ’04, a freshman who comes from Ladysmith, South Africa.
“There’s no holiday like this in South Africa. Instead, we have public holidays that have more to do with politics like Human Rights Day, Freedom Day, etc,” Lin said.
Lin will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday with her international host family that lives in Lexington, Ma. However, she experienced a taste of Thanksgiving this past week during two Thanksgiving dinners at MIT: one on her floor in Burton-Conner and the other with a friend at East Campus.
“I probably read about ‘Thanksgiving’ in some book before [I came here], but it’s definitely different to experience the actual holiday here,” Lin said.
In the past week, Lin has learned much of the customs and traditions which surround the holiday and has had a chance to sample the culinary wealth that Thanksgiving has to offer.
“Personally, I think it’s just great that you can get loads of food. I wish they had this kind of holiday in South Africa where you can just gorge yourself with tons of food,” Lin said.
In the spirit of the holiday, Lin reflected on her experiences thus far at MIT.
“I’m really thankful for my parents encouraging my overseas study and allowing me to come and study here. I’m also thankful for all the wonderful people and supporting friends I’ve met here since orientation who have made me feel at home,” Lin said.
Solid State Chemistry (3.091) lecturer Professor Donald Sadoway plans to spend the holiday at home in Waltham, Ma this year with visiting family.
He will act as “sou chef” to his wife, Professor of Materials Science Anne Mayes, in preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
They plan to diverge from the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner and are instead serving goose as their main entree. “We’re kind of forging our own,” Sadoway said.
Sadoway plans to take a break from work over the holiday weekend with the exception of preparing for his 3.091 lecture on Monday.
“What am I thankful for? I’m thankful for the fact that I won’t have to give a lecture on Friday,” Sadoway said.
Laura G. Dean G, a graduate student majoring in Computer Science plans to visit relatives in Connecticut this weekend.
Although she anticipates a traditional Thanksgiving meal which she may help to cook, Dean will not be having the turkey. “I’m a vegetarian, so I usually eat the other stuff. There are usually a lot of good vegetarian dishes, too,” she said.
Other plans for the weekend include catching up on sleep and doing some schoolwork, which she says “probably won’t actually happen.”
“I am thankful for my friends,” Dean said.
Richard Norris, who works at Courses in the Student Center, is unsure of his Thanksgiving plans.
In addition to cooking, cleaning, and serving food at Courses, Norris volunteers at MIT radio station WMBR 88.1 FM on Saturday nights and also is active in reaching out to teenagers in the community.
He plans to stay in town during the holiday and have Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house.
“I’m thankful for the good people that are in my life,” he said.
Aside from dinner, Norris plans to take a break from any work during his holiday break.“I’m working on myself by getting a haircut,” he said.
For members of the MIT community traveling by airplane over the holidays, the Parking and Transportation Office provides an airport shuttle on Tuesday and Wednesday that will run at 20 minute intervals. This service is open to all MIT students and employees. However, there is a $5 fee, and advance online registration is required since space is limited. More information can be found at <http://web.mit.edu/parking/airport-shuttle.html>.