On the eve of my first Thanksgiving without my family, I’m trying really hard to be grateful and not be homesick. Thanksgiving is completely relative I suppose, and I guess I’m rather uncomfortable with all of the strange things I have to be thankful for this year.
I’m thankful my apartment has heat (some in this city don’t). I’m so unbelievably thankful for Alex and our ability to find the most absurd misadventures. I’m thankful I can use chopsticks. I’m also thankful I won’t be perpetually bloated as a result of holiday deliciousness from here on until January 1.
And I’m thankful I have the internet, even though it requires a chord, because 9,000 miles easily dissipate through the grainy video on Skype.
Most days I’m thankful I came to China. Though today isn’t one of those days. I can’t stop thinking about the snow back home and the photo of cranberry sauce my brother sent me. The weather here is too warm for Thanksgiving season and many trees still have green leaves.
This experience is making me realize that I really am a four-season kind of girl. Of course the snow and cold is fun to complain about back home, but when it’s suddenly not around I find myself clinging to subtle cues of the season change. There are clues, some trees are shedding their leaves and it gets chilly after sunset. But overall it still feels like September.
Alex and I have been plotting our traditional Thanksgiving feast for weeks now and settled on dinner at the Hyatt. For around $25 USD we can enjoy an all-you-can-eat turkey and pumpkin pie dinner.
Our cranberry and stuffing dreams were changed however when I opened my inbox on Monday to an invitation from a teacher at our university. I met Judy last week, she teaches English and visited NDSU in September. Her English is nearly flawless.
She invited Alex and I to dinner at her home on Thursday night, she said she wouldn’t be able to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner like what we’re accustomed to, but she would happily cook us something special. So tomorrow night, Alex and I will join Judy, her husband, two-year old daughter, and mother-in-law for a feast of beef curry, broccoli soup, and brownies.
Beef curry certainly isn’t turkey and gravy, but the food at Thanksgiving is only half of the holiday. The better half is about family. Granted, we’ve never met Judy’s family and she is barely an acquaintance of us, but tomorrow will be the first time in nearly two months that Alex and I will be with a family.
It will certainly be anything but traditional. But there will still be turkeys and pumpkin pies and creamy vegetable casseroles to consume next year.