Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 2013
JISHOU, HUNAN — First, I am going to pimp my mention in NPR’s Protojournalist blog. They invited expats around the world to contribute short reports on how we were celebrating the holiday. None of my photos on Instagram got used, but you can see a few of them here. Thursday is a work day for me this term. I have morning Oral English classes till just before noon. The only Western holiday we foreign teachers have off is Christmas, and only a day at that, so all other holidays are working days for me. It’s just something you have to accept as expat. On the bright side, Chinese universities typically take four to six weeks off for winter holiday and six weeks off for the summer, plus there are other shorter holidays scattered throughout the year. After classes, I met Laura Liu for lunch. I have mentioned her in an earlier post about my students. Laura and I are close friends, but she had other plans for dinner, so we met for lunch at a place downtown that serve noodles Yunnan style. It’s one of my favorite places to eat in Jishou, and I hadn’t been there for months. The ...

Thanksgiving Dinner 2009 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — On the spur of the moment, I decided to invite the other four Americans in Jishou to Thanksgiving dinner. Since two of them live right above me, the original plan was to meet at my place. Then I thought, why not invite some Chinese friends, too? After all, there are many people who have been my family here, but I have never had them in one place at the same time. By the time I got done compiling a guest list, I had 20 names! I can squeeze at most nine people into my apartment at any one time, so clearly we would have to go to a restaurant. The other Americans were fine with eating out, and since I teach six classes on Thursdays, it was by far a better idea than cooking at my home. I had this brilliant idea Monday night. Perhaps I’ve gotten enculturated, because the people around here seem to spring dinner plans on you at the last moment. Planning, schmanning. So, I got busy with my cell phone and sent a flurry of texts to my friends on Tuesday morning. At lunch, I talked the plan over with my friend, Frieda. ...

Happy Thanksgiving! 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — Thanksgiving Day has already ended over here. ‘Round about this time, you folks in the US of A will be preparing the turkey, or driving someplace where someone else is preparing the turkey. Eat well, and drive carefully, please. Today was the first time I have celebrated Thanksgiving without my family since I was 22 and living in Wyoming. Then, as now, I had friends who were substitute family, so I was not forlorn. In fact, I had a pretty good day today. I can’t say whether it’s common in China, but the College of International Exchange seems to have adopted Thanksgiving in a uniquely Chinese way. Outside our fourth-floor wing of classrooms was a large poster made up of sticky-notes in the shape of a heart. Each note carried a message from a student to his or her parents, thanking them for sending them to university, or to their friends, giving their best wishes for the day. Several students also sent me emails and text messages wishing me a “Happy Thanks Giving.” After morning classes, one group of freshmen treated me and David, the other foreign teacher (who’s from the UK, but it’s cool), to lunch ...
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