Thanksgiving

One of the stressful things about living abroad is missing holidays and celebrations of the home country. It is a joy to engage and learn new things, but there’s often a longing to return to the familiar. Although I’m not surrounded by the holiday traditions from the USA, I can share them and make do with what’s around me now. Last month I shared Thanksgiving and this month soon will be Christmas.

During the week before Thanksgiving, I taught students in class about the holiday and participated in several events with students and friends to celebrate. We gathered with students to make dumplings, we had dinner with more students, and then I hosted other Peace Corps Volunteers for our own Thanksgiving meal featuring chicken, mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and more–including a pumpkin pie I made from scratch.

The evening of Thanksgiving when myself and a few other foreign teachers gathered around a table with students, we ate and chatted. Then we went around the table to say what we were thankful for. it was a moment of honesty. One student used the image of a train. People get on and off as passengers, sometimes just quickly passing through each other’s lives, but friends are in it together for the long journey. What an amazing reflection.

With a grateful heart I give thanks for life and friends.

November in Pictures


November was a full month of fun experiences. I was invited to tea by another teacher and learned about Chinese tea culture. We drank fermented black and green tea from the Fujian province and a tea from the Yunnan province aged 15 years. I discovered the college Biology Department brews its own beer. Yes, beer–and better than any of the mass-produced stuff I can find in the shops.

In other activities, I attended an evening English Corner to talk with students about interview skills and a little bit about Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day I taught 2 classes and then gathered with students to make 饺子 (Jiao zi), which are dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables, then boiled and eaten with a spicy soy sauce. I also celebrated Thanksgiving with other Peace Corps Volunteers and the next day had a potluck with some other foreign teachers in Mianyang.