Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thanksgiving: Chinese Style

We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving in our own special "Chinese" way.  As you might guess, Thanksgiving is not a recognized Chinese holiday, so Jamie had to work and LBean had school.  But, in some ways that was okay with me.  It felt like a normal, routine day for our family and I wasn't so homesick for family (plus it helped knowing that we would be flying back to the US in 3 weeks).

LBean's school had a food drive, so we were able to make connections between what LBean was doing at school and the American Thanksgiving holiday.  Also as a family, we created a "thankful" tree that we hung on our wall and added new "leaves" after dinner for things that we were thankful for.  And thanks to some really thoughtful friends, we had plenty of Thanksgiving crafts to keep us busy during the weeks leading up to the holiday.

My girls LOVE to craft!

Although Thanksgiving is not a Chinese holiday, the local restaurants and hotels know who their target audience is and there were many options for Thanksgiving dinner.  Thanksgiving night we got together with several expat families from Jamie's company at a local German restaurant for a traditional meal of turkey, cranberry salad (mmm, I had seconds) and even green bean casserole (although it was obvious that the green beans were fresh and not from a can, which meant a slightly different texture).  I have to say that it was the first time we've ever been within walking distance of where our Thanksgiving meal was going to be.  One of the wives brought Jumer's rolls and I brought our family's traditional sugar cookies...in the shape of turkeys of course.  Before we moved, I purchased a Tupperware container for all our cutters just like my Aunt Dorothy's (our family's official sugar cookie baker) because I knew it was my responsibility to bring the tradition to China.

Mark had the official duty of carving the turkey, which was so good!

EBean with Cathy, whom I affectionately call "China Grandma".
Cathy really isn't old enough to be a grandma, but in the summer when I
was telling the girls about how they were going to like Cathy and she was
going "love on them",  LBean said "like a grandma?"  LBean got it right,
Cathy loves on them like a grandma and has mothered me a
when I needed it!

Those bright orange turkey sugar cookies!

We ended the night lighting a few Chinese lanterns, watching some fireworks and enjoying the laser-light show at RainboWalk.  It was a nice evening and it was really fun to get together with other company families.  Although the employees see each other at work, the spouses run errands together, and the kids go to the same schools, it's rare to have an opportunity for whole families to get together.

Lighting the lantern

...and up it goes.  There's actually a bit of a trick to it.
You have to hold it just long enough to allow a sufficient
amount of warm air to build up and carry the lantern away.

EBean and I were in for a treat on Friday morning.  We were able to Skype with Jamie's family who were all together at Jamie's sister's house ending their Thanksgiving dinner (it was Thursday evening there).  We literally could have made a Skype commercial...it was so cute.  The computer got passed around Jamie's family (who were all sitting around the kitchen table) and EBean and I were able to spend close to an hour talking to everyone.

Our family has so many things to be thankful for and our time in China is one of them.

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