Bronx Science Students’ Thanksgiving Stories During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Students share the highlights of their 2020 Thanksgiving and how they had to adapt their holiday celebrations to prevent COVID-19 exposure.

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Shireen Zaman

To celebrate Thanksgiving in a safe way, given the Coronavirus pandemic, Shireen Zaman ’22 played video games such as ‘Genshin Impact’ with her friends. ‘Genshin Impact’ is an online open world role-playing game.

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is the time of year when family and friends rejoice together and acknowledge everything for which they are thankful. But what happens when you are struck in the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving you separated from your loved ones, out of a need to reduce transmission of COVID-19? Regardless, many Bronx Science students did not let this year’s unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic restrictions hamper their holiday fun. They found new ways to celebrate while still adhering to CDC COVID-19 guidelines.

The main course for the Thanksgiving dinner of Saamiya Ahmed ’22 consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, and roast beef. (Saamiya Ahmed)

Take Ria Anandjee ’22, who enjoyed a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, one that included a fun twist at the end of the night. Anandjee’s dinner was rather unconventional, as it excluded a traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Her family is vegetarian and opted to skip out on what some consider to be the most essential part of the feast — the turkey. After a delicious meal filled with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and lasagna, Anandjee and her family ventured to Manhattan in their family car for a pleasant drive. While her family would normally get a head start on Black Friday shopping, the Centers for Disease Control recommendation to stay at home due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in New York City proved to be more important. During the cozy ride, Anandjee’s family enjoyed all of the glittering Christmas lights decorating Hudson Yards through their car windows. “The night was so calm and the lights were beautiful,” said Anandjee. What it lacked in excitement and hubbub, it made up for in nostalgia and a strong family bonding experience.

Similar to Anandjee, Rose Marabello ’22 and her family took their Thanksgiving on the road for a delightful trip to Atlanta, Georgia.“[We] had a lot of fun and a lot of turkey!” said Marabello. However, due to social distancing restrictions, Marabello and her family were unable to do much during their trip, as they had to comply with Georgia’s 14-day quarantine rule. While this is not something that her family would typically do, Marabello believes that this was their best Thanksgiving yet.  

Shireen Zaman ’22 also had to adapt her Thanksgiving festivities this year. Instead of having her friends over as she originally planned, she hosted a group Facetime call with them. Together, the friends played virtual games, laughed, and ate delicious holiday feasts in the comfort of their own homes. “It was so cool to use our time off to call each other and play video games,” said Zaman. Even though they could not physically be together, Zaman and her friends still managed to enjoy the holidays this year while socially distanced and safe, which goes to show the resilience and spirit of the Bronx Science community.

While Zaman mainly used her time off to spend quality time with her friends, Manha Bulbul ’22 took advantage of this break to reconnect with her family. In fact, her brother even visited from out of town, and with his help, she and all of her siblings helped to clean and to prepare their Thanksgiving feast. While Bulbul’s celebration may have been more relaxed than in previous years, it was still a wonderful time, as she had the opportunity to try new foods and to experience a change of pace in her daily routine. “The highlight of Thanksgiving 2020 was just sitting down and eating the food, because it didn’t feel like we were still in quarantine,” said Bulbul.

This Thanksgiving was a wonderful time to socialize with one’s immediate family and to socialize in a socially distanced manner with one’s friends, but this year, Thanksgiving also became even more special in that it served as a way for people to escape our current tense and disheartening situation of the Coronavirus pandemic. We could take an afternoon off to relax with our immediate family. For one day, Thursday, November 26th, 2020, students did not have to worry as much about the Coronavirus pandemic, virtual schooling, or work. By simply eating and having fun with their loved ones, Bronx Science students’ spirits were lifted as they looked forward to the day when Thanksgiving could be celebrated in person with large groups of friends and family, after vaccines are distributed, herd immunity is reached after most of the population is vaccinated, and the Coronavirus vaccine begins to disappear.

“The highlight of Thanksgiving 2020 was just sitting down and eating the food, because it didn’t feel like we were still in quarantine,” said Manha Bulbul ’22.

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