Friday, November 29, 2013

An American Thanksgiving in China

Yesterday I celebrated American Thanksgiving.

Nothing beats the authenticity of going all the way to China for my first real American-style Thanksgiving party, which as it turns out is very similar to a Canadian Thanksgiving party. Several of my fellow foreign teachers are American, so they planned the event and I was excited to be a part of it.

Now of course, being off the beaten path in China means that creating reminders of home or Western experiences is much more difficult. I've used the example before that sometimes I feel like I'm in the Swiss Family Robinson. Not everything I want is readily available, so I plan and search and improvise, and maybe by next summer we can have that treehouse built. But against the odds, this group of foreigners was able to create what I thought was an excellent feast.
You better believe those are Goldfish crackers!
The turkey was ordered in advance online, on Taobao, China's version of eBay on steroids. We had it all: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, homemade pumpkin pie, pasta salad, chicken nuggets, coleslaw, popcorn, Chinese food... a real who's who of holiday favourites. We even had cranberry sauce, everyone's favourite dish to look at and never actually eat. Since I can't cook well enough for people to eat quite yet, I made some dip, brought more vegetables than you can shake a drumstick at, and a make-your-own-sundae bar. And to answer the question on many people's minds: yes, I ate the meal with chopsticks, and the mashed potatoes were definitely the most challenging part.
Mmmmmm fresh off the Internet and oh so juicy!
It was a great evening with fun people, and I'm really glad I have these folks around. Some people miss home during the holidays, and although we may not be at our original homes with our "real" families, we do a bang-up job of recreating simulations designed to make you feel right at home.
The Kenneth's English School gang
I recently heard that Americans celebrate Christmas as well, and it's coming up. I'm looking forward to that too- it'll be fun to see what an American Christmas is all about!

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