Nov 26, 2011

Oh the holidays :)

You know those people who are like, "I hate Christmas," and then proceed to give reasons why they hate it, such as:
  • You should have the Christmas Spirit all year, not for one day.
  • Christmas songs are annoying.
  • People only really care about getting presents, which is really selfish.
  • I'm only going to give you a present if I think you actually deserve a present. I don't want to feel pressure.
Blah blah blah. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of the people who say "I hate Christmas"-- despite how genuine their reasons seem-- are just saying it because they want to hate something that most people love. I'm sure there's a term for that kind of person, but being around people who speak little-to-no-English for the past 3+ months has made me forget most of my English. It's pretty tragic, really. I'm not sure I'm still qualified to teach these little kids. Good thing I'm not taking an English class this spring.
Anyway, I just wanted to preface with that so that my next statement holds more weight.
I don't hate any of the holidays. But Thanksgiving is easily my least favorite. It's mostly about eating and being thankful for things. As far as being thankful for things goes, I really like to hope that I show thanks for my blessings all year, but it's nice to have a specific day set aside for that, because I probably don't actually show thanks every day all year. It would be fantastic if I did, but it doesn't happen. And the eating of food? You've got turkey, stuffing, pie, and then other side dishes and desserts that are filled in for each family. Turkey, stuffing and pie are pretty mandatory no matter what. The reason Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday is because I don't like turkey or stuffing. The two things that Thanksgiving is really built on. And I try them every year, but they just don't get better tasting. Haha. It's really sad.
This year, however, was one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever had (and one of the lamest Halloweens I've ever had, which is sad because Halloween is one of my favorites). It all starts on Thursday. Obviously.
We had a special craft thing we did with the kids where they all made turkeys with their parents. It was cute and fun. But the real party comes that night. For dinner on Mon-Thurs, we go over to the Chinese teachers' apartment and eat with them. On Thanksgiving, they cooked us a particularly big dinner-- with turkey :) It was really delicious and very sweet of them to do. They even had dessert for us. Fruit salad! So good. It was so nice.
Then the next day we went to Xioulan and ate feast number 2 with the girls there. It was like a real Thanksgiving dinner (minus the turkey and stuffing ha). We had KFC, mashed potatoes, corn, broccoli dish with onions and carrots, rolls, stuffed peppers, and a couple Chinese dishes. I'm sure there were other things, but they escape my attention. For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, donuts, cookies (which Morgin baked from scratch. She's AWESOME.), and a baked apple crumble thing. It was so awesome. We went around the table and said something we're thankful for, just like back home (even though that's a pretty recently adopted tradition that my family's picked up).
It was awesome. I think the best part was that it was a real Thanksgiving. We were going to have the same group of ILP girls that went to Beijing. That's the Xioulan girls, us here in Nanlang, and the sisters (plus their one other roommate who couldn't make it to Beijing). But the sisters weren't able to make it for dinner. It was sad, but these things happen. We still had food for all of them, so the Xioulan girls went downstairs and invited some of their Chinese teacher friends up for dinner. So we had Americans sharing a tradition with the Chinese. It was awesome. :) I loved it. Easily the best Thanksgiving of my life.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful for the support you've all shown me while I've been on the other side of the world. :) Love you guys!


Berserk said...

Glad you had a good Thanksgiving. It's also one of my least favorite holidays, for pretty much the same reaosn.

Susie said...

So I am glad you enjoyed the holiday, and I have always known you don't particularly like it because you don't like the food. But I also am reading here that the turkey you had was delicious. How did they cook it, that you enjoyed it so much? I assume they didn't roast it, right? I have had more fun with the side dishes that we have had to go along with the turkey, although I like the stuffing somewhat I wonder if the reason I like it is because it's another way to eat the gravy, which I really like a lot? I think my favorite side dish is the mashed potatoes and gravy, which I know I am darned good at making. I also like doing the green bean casserole, which I do better than the original recipe, and the spinach-artichoke casserole. Plus Carolyn made sweet potatoes that tasted like sweet potato fries, so yum on that. We were going to have a loaf of bread but I messed up the timing so I ended up making crescent rolls out of the dough and that turned out yummy. I like turkey okay, but if it didn't have cranberries I don't know if I would bother. Also, gravy. I find for the most part the turkey is the last thing I eat.

I never particularly loved the holiday as a kid, other than the fact that it meant a few extra days off from school. And now of course it usually means a couple of days off from work. But as I've grown older it means that I have more family around. Even if not all of my kids comes over to the house to eat, I usually get at least a few of them that I don't get to see regularly, and I always like that. And the older I get the more of my kids are no longer living at home so the more I look forward to someone visiting, and the more I look forward to Thanksgiving, because it's not about presents or anything, it's just about gathering around a table to enjoy a good meal and good company.

By the way, I got the "Wicked" tickets. :) Box seats. Yay!

I miss you, and I am starting to count down the days till you come home, but I also feel a little sad knowing your grand adventure is drawing to a close and I know that is probably making you sad too. I also know that coming home will be a little strange for you. How do you feel about that?

Susie said...

Oh, that reminds me, Dad wants to make sure you're okay, fund-wise, for your trip home.

Berserk said...

You make a good point about Thanksgiving, Mom. It is nice that the whole point of the holiday is to just gather up people you care about and enjoy the company.

And, now that I'm an adult, I don't have to sit through any of that nonsense about pilgrims and indians, either. :)

Samara said...

They fried the turkey. It was cut up in little pieces, and then fried. That's how they cook all their meat. It's actually how they cook nearly everything they eat. Sometimes they steam something, but mostly it's just all fried.

I just posted a blog about why I'm not excited to leave, so you can read that. But I am excited for some things back home, especially school starting up in the spring. I'm actually taking a Chinese/Korean/Japanese history class, and the prof-- Dr. Tian-- grew up in China, so that should be pretty awesome. He got really nice reviews for this class on ratemyprofessor. I'm excited to come home, I'm just not excited to leave. It's different from when I left America to come to China. I knew I'd be back in 4 months, so the things I might miss weren't a big deal. They'd still be there when I got home. But I'll probably never be back to Zhongshan, so leaving this time around is really final and sad. Only 12 more days. Closer to 11, at this time of night.

And yeah, I'm totally fine money wise. I don't know what Dad thinks I'll be buying between Hong Kong and Colorado, but I'm pretty sure it'll just be a couple meals, if anything.

Haha, Jason, the head teacher of the Xioulan group has everyone dress up as either a pilgrim or an indian for Thanksgiving. It's kind of awesome and kind of ridiculous at the same time. But there's no reinacting or anything, so it's still nice to just get together as friends and family and enjoy. :)