Happy Thanksgiving! Or as we say in China, 感恩节快乐! (Gan en jie kuai le)
Here in China we managed to have our own American Thanksgiving! It wasn't easy to pull together, and of course we didn't have some of the staples (Turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing), but we made due. And in the end, it was a really special Thanksgiving that I'll never forget.
In addition to America, there were 5 other countries represented at our Thanksgiving feast. Myriam, from Mexico, brought a salsa-chicken casserole. Our resident Italian, Marika, helped make macaroni & cheese and delicious pumpkin soup. The Indian family, Anupa, Papa and Arnab, provided the mashed potatoes and their house. Sarah, Matthew, and Jada (China) fixed a green been casserole. Laura and I fixed a to-die-for sweet potato casserole (with pecans and marshmallows on top!). Carter also made an appearance. Sara's Chinese coworker and her husband brought a Thanksgiving cake, which made up for the lack of a pie. While there may not have been a large bird on the table, our friend Bahar comes from Turkey! While most of us had our own dish, we generally helped out with everyone's food.
As we passed out plates, Myriam brought in some baijiu (a kind of Chinese liquor) because there cannot possibly be a celebration in China without some baijiu! All the Guiyang first years took a shot together. I don't really think anyone was very fond of it. I don't mind mind it- just kind of sickeningly sweet and really strong.
|Note our Viva Mexico plates! How cultural.|
|Sara really didn't like the taste of the baijiu|
After our meal, we all went around the room and said what we were thankful for. Some of our "thanks" was for an experience in China, new friends, spouses, family, hospitality, new adventures, and even a first date in a McDonalds parking lot. It was a very memorable Thanksgiving. Sometimes I don't think we think about how much other people mean to us, or vice versa. Most of us have only known each other for a few months, but we have developed some really special friendships.
It was really neat to share this part of American culture with our friends from across the world because it was the FIRST Thanksgiving any of them had ever had. I know they had a great time, and I was on cloud nine after seeing how happy they were to experience this holiday with us!
|Sharing American culture with Chinese friends|
|Arnab, Myriam, Bahar, and Laura|
In the end, I didn't have Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle in North Carolina, my mom, grandparents or cousins as usual. Instead I had a Thanksgiving with my Indian aunt and uncle, my three big sisters from China, India, and Mexico, and new cousins from around the world! My Guizhou family is pretty awesome!