People silhouetted on the summit of Moosilauke
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A picture of New York Skyscrapers from the central park

At the start, coming to the US revolved around pursuing education at Dartmouth and exploring both South and North America. However, this purpose gradually evolved during my first term, expanding to include newfound interests such as rock climbing and active involvement in an activist organization. As Thanksgiving approached, my focus shifted yet again to reconnecting with a previously unknown part of my family.

In 1948, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia gained control through a combination of democratic elections and a coup, establishing an authoritarian one-party rule characterized by oppression, censorship, and inefficiency. My grand-grandparents bravely resisted this regime, facing  surveillance by the secret police. Even though their children were top students, they were restricted from studying their desired subjects and pursuing their chosen professions. No one  could express what they truly believed, because if they spoke up they would likely be prosecuted. Just like tens of thousands of other people who were imprisoned because they were against the regime. In 1965, my grandmother's brother fled to the USA, followed by her sister in 1968, coinciding with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The regime and with it the regime continued until 1989.


The image presented is of a man standing bare chested in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, in front of a Soviet Tank with the Comenius University in the background.

The image presented is of a man standing bare chested in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, in front of a Soviet Tank with the Comenius University in the background. 

Although I was aware of my American relatives, I could barely name any of them. Thanksgiving became an opportunity, orchestrated by my grandmother, to finally connect with this part of my family and experience the holiday for the first time. It struck me as ironic that I had to cross continents for education to uncover familial ties and, in a way, learn more about myself.

As for thanksgiving, the food was awesome, I and the atmosphere too. I loved how the whole family from all around the US came under one roof and talked over all that has happened in the last year. It's a really great idea and I am certainly going to implement it even after I move to Europe. I have to admit though that I am still a little unsure  what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about officially.

I have one last remark, observing the rise of Marxist ideals all over the world, and also the visit of the Revolutionary Marxist student group at Dartmouth, prompted reflection. My family was willing to leave everything they have and their whole family to migrate to the US without knowing a single person and knowing english. My grandma's brother spent a month in a prison in Austria just to escape the communist regime. It is clear how the communist and socialist regimes based on the work of Karl Marx were destructive and oppressive in every country where they were established. So how can people who are relatively high  up the education ladder even consider socialism/communism as a valid solution to the world's problems?


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