Thanksgiving Beyond America

Ever since working through my 12 steps for my recovery issues eight years ago, I have adopted an attitude of gratitude in my life—not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. One of the things I am most grateful for over the past few years is my relationship with Pedro and his Spanish family. For Thanksgiving (and as a gift for my birthday—also Thanksgiving day), Pedro has agreed to share his Thanksgiving thoughts from the perspective of a Spaniard.

Ardis:  When was the first time you came to America and what was your impression?

Pedro & his parents in New York, 2009

Pedro:  I came to America for the first time in 2009 for Easter. I went with my parents and some friends to New York, and we all had such a good impression of this country. I could not say why, but we all thought exactly the same thing: Europeans and Americans are different, but we have a lot in common.

Ardis:  And then you returned?

Pedro:  Yes, that summer I went to L.A. to spend a month learning English. My visit to L.A. confirmed that my first thoughts about America were true. This is why I decided to return the next year, and I had the good luck to meet the Nelson family: Ardis, Curt, Evan and Cameron.

We spent a wonderful month travelling through Washington State, and sharing our cultures in a wonderful process. In the next year, when I returned, they had an amazing present for my 18th birthday: a recording session in a studio. We shared another wonderful month and we have continued keeping in touch.

Ardis:  Yes, thanks to the internet, keeping in touch has been very easy. Why is studying in America or learning English so important to you?

Pedro:  Now that the world is globalized, it is required for almost every company to know English. In Spain there are hundreds of international companies which use English as their first language. I’m studying Law and Business Administration, so it is especially important for me to have a good English level. This is why I took English classes since I was 8 years old or studying abroad in Ireland, L.A. or Seattle.

One of the best things about studying abroad is the possibility to immerse yourself in another culture. You have a different experience meeting new people, new places…and when you return home, you start perceiving how different everything is. It is a strange feeling.

Ardis:  That sounds exciting Pedro! I can hardly wait to experience that for myself next summer when I visit Spain*. What about life in Spain? Americans hear in the media how bad things are with the economy in Spain and Europe overall. How does that affect you and your daily life?

Pedro:  Things are very bad here in Europe. Spain and Greece have the worse economy of all countries in the world. It is believed that we will not fully recover to our 2008, pre-crisis economy, for many years. Fortunately, I live in an area where the crisis’ impact is not very hard. In my family there are 4 people who lost their jobs. So, while I don’t feel the Spanish economic woes in my daily life, I notice its effect in my environment.

Ardis:  Does Spain celebrate a similar day of giving thanks?

Pedro:  In Spain this day doesn’t exist, but we all know it is good to remember what gifts we have received and their meaning.

Ardis:  Now that you have such strong family connections in America, how would you reflect on this American holiday?

Pedro:  Thanksgiving Day is a very special day where we have to stop from our daily life and look for what things we are thankful for. When I look back because of the Thanksgiving Day, I cannot say anything but how thankful I am. It makes me realize how lucky I am to be born in a wonderful family, to have the possibility to study what I like, to have met the Nelson family…there is a very long list, so I don´t want to bore the reader. This is why I thank God for giving me this wonderful life around wonderful people. I only can suggest that because of this day, everyone should try to be grateful.

Ardis:  Well said, Pedro.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts with America!

Pedro & Ardis in the recording studio, July 2011

I hope you enjoyed this interview with a cross-cultural perspective. I know my life has been enriched and expanded by having a relationship with a family 5,300 miles across the globe.

Last year for my birthday, Pedro wrote me a song.  I also celebrated my first birthday since my mother passed with friends who have prayed for me on my ‘journey to mother love’.  I will leave you with a music video from that day combined with Pedro’s beautiful song, Ardis’s Song (click link). Pedro’s music is just one of the many things I am grateful for.

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136.1 (NIV)

*I did experience the cultural differences, food, places, and people that Pedro referenced in the summer of 2013. To read about my first-hand experiences in Spain, check out Adjusting to Life in Spain or The Spanish Lifestyle.

Leave a comment


  1. Thank you for sharing the joy that this friendship has been! What a gift, to have a song for your birthday.


    • Connie, glad you liked the interview. I count my blessings every day for this frienship and the gift of music that Pedro has brought into my life. Happy Thanksgiving! Ardis


  2. Happy Birthday Ardis! Fun post to read as I will be visiting Spain in April!


  1. Thanksgiving Praise « Northwest Christian Writers Association

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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