A week isn't too late to talk about Thanksgiving is it? Well, even so, I say it's still okay to discuss the fabulous party we threw for our Chinese friends (and one Filipino) to give them a taste of American food.
I was feeling really homesick and was hoping this party would help me feel better. When you can't be home what could be better than being surrounded by friends, eating good food, laughing, and having a great time. We invited about 12 people for dinner and surprisingly almost everyone came. My Thanksgiving dinner was a memorable first one in China.
No, we didn't have a turkey or a ham and probably nothing too similar to what you had on your dinner table that evening. But we did have tacos with homemade tortillas and salsa with chips. Andrew made a perfect bowl of my favorite food: spaghetti. We had fresh watermelon and pineapple. It really doesn't get much better than that. Oh and we have the random stir-fried vegetables and a fried egg and tomato dish.
It can be embarrassing going out to dinner with our Chinese friends because they have to teach us how to eat certain foods, tell us what things are, and there are occasional snickers coming from across the table when we mistakenly dip something in the wrong sauce. I always thought it was strange that they didn't realize that eating Chinese food just doesn't come natural to us foreigners and some things need to be explained. That was until Thanksgiving. Have you ever had to explain what a taco was or how to eat one? or that the chips are supposed to be dipped into the salsa? You would think it's obvious and that everyone knows how to layer toppings on a taco. Wrong. We all had to learn that at some point and for these folks it happened in their mid-twenties. After explaining that the meat was beef and the orange stuff was cheese we showed them a tutorial on how to layer everything on a tortilla and then wrap it up.
I think we may have placed the mashed potatoes too close to the taco toppings because poor Ella didn't know that obviously they don't belong on a taco. She didn't think anything of it and just ate it right up. It was probably delicious!
I am happy to report that there were more Chinese leftovers than American. We may be onto something with the whole tacos in China thing. I think I was too busy socializing to get overly stuffed like I usually do on Thanksgiving but that's never a bad thing. It was so comforting though to eat such familiar food. Mmmmm. You don't know what's good until you don't have it. Cliche but true.
We hear it every year: Thanksgiving isn't all about the food it's about giving thanks. I've spent the better portion of this post talking about food (which is something in and of itself to be thankful for in a foreign country) but there are many things I've come to be thankful for living in another country.
I am of course thankful for mine and Andrew's family. They are all so supportive of us and we are lucky to have such great people in our lives. You are all important to us. Even if we don't talk to you regularly you have each impacted our lives positively. Thank you. We miss you all. I am grateful for God and my faith and that although I am currently living in a communist country I have the privilege of believing what I want and attending church regularly. My time in China has given me the opportunity to rely more on God and for that I am grateful.
To prevent this from being an overly sappy post I will just say that everything I'm grateful for stems from my family and my faith and leave it at that. That is except for the fact that I'm grateful the local happy fruit guy got a shipment of strawberries. They are the first I've seen in the entire country. Expensive but worth it ($2 USD for seven strawberries)!
Why was your Thanksgiving especially memorable?
I can't help but think that next year when I'm in America surrounded by family chowing down on turkey and sweet potatoes that I'll look back on this party and be grateful for the time I had in China. Happy Thanksgiving!