I’ll be the first to admit that I was truly worried about how the mini and I would spend our first major holiday abroad. Despite my best efforts to spend the day surrounded by people we were familiar with eating food that fed our souls as much as it did our stomachs, nothing seemed to be working out. The plans that we did make fell through, well sort of…but that’s another story. Nonetheless, I was left trying to make sure we didn’t spend the holiday sad, depressed and alone. So I had to put on mommy cape and get to work. Not only did we have a decent Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by good people, but we were so busy that we didn’t have time to think about all the glorious food and family time we were missing back home.
Obviously, Thanksgiving is not recognized as a holiday here in China; therefore, it was business as usual. This actually helped us tremendously. Not sure how this next thought will be interpreted, but it helped not to see other families making plans for a huge Thanksgiving dinner. Without the inundation of those images, we were also able to treat it like just another day here in China. So we indulged in manicures, did a little shopping and just hung out. So when we made the decision to attend a dinner hosted by an acquaintance, it wasn’t out of desperation or loneliness. It was because we genuinely wanted to celebrate and share in the gratitude of this experience. So we picked up a pack of rolls and headed to the location, a lounge known as DJ’s, for a really good Thanksgiving dinner and a viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There was no mac and cheese or potato salad, but the food was good nonetheless. The turkey was moist, the green bean casserole tasty, the sweet potato casserole was delicious and there were plenty of desserts to choose from.
However, more than anything else, it was the camaraderie and the fellowship. Meeting people who are in a similar situation and can understand your frustration or isolation is quite comforting, especially during the holidays. And the beautiful thing is, many of the people we met weren’t even American and had never celebrated Thanksgiving before. But just like us, they wanted to gather with people with whom they could relate and just have a relaxing, good time. So this Thanksgiving I gave thanks for the people here who welcomed my daughter and me and provided us with much needed nourishment. Nourishment for our hearts, bodies and souls. It takes a lot to create a community of people in a foreign land, but luckily, this past holiday the mini and I were enveloped and warmly welcomed in one. And for that I am grateful.