A couple from Columbia received hundreds of invitations to celebrate their first Thanksgiving in America. Susana and Edward Orrego arrived in Brookline, Massachusetts, last August from Columbia. The couple plans to spend two years in the Boston metropolitan area while Susana studies at Harvard medical school.
Susana did not have the best first impression of Bostonians or the broader US. Susana explained, “The first month was hard for me because in Colombia, we say hello to all the people in the streets. And sometimes, the people don’t reply back. So I told my mom… probably the people are not so friendly.”
Susana and Edward wanted to learn more about American culture, get to know the American way of life, and become more acquainted with their neighbors. Susana explained her desire, noting, “So it’s like, try to know the culture, try to embrace a new country that opened the doors to me and my husband.”
Susana used the “Nextdoor” app to post her family’s desire to celebrate their first Thanksgiving with an American family. Nextdoor is a neighborhood app aimed at connecting members of the community. Her posting read:
“Hey, we are a couple that is not from America. We want to know about Thanksgiving, We want to share the experience.”
Susana was floored when she saw she received over 200 invites to strangers’ homes for Thanksgiving dinner. The winning invitation was from Carol Lesser of Brookline, Massachusetts. Susana was sold when Lesser mentioned she had a ‘multi-generational family.” Lesser is just as enthused to share the holiday with Susana and Edward.
In an interview with WBZ-TV, Lesser shared:
“I said to her, I felt like I won the lottery because she chose us and we get a chance to meet them. She seemed so genuine in her reaching out, and I felt like we could reciprocate and show her a good side of America.”
Susana expressed her gratitude and thankfulness for all the responses she received. She noted that her attitude about Boston and America completely changed after seeing all the invites. Susana gushed, “People are kindness, people are love. So it’s like changed my mind completely.”