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Freshly butchered lamb, anyone?

Freshly butchered lamb, anyone?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! As you are all drinking your coffee and pre-heating those ovens in preparation for the big day ahead of you, I would like to share with you our first Thanksgiving in China. And no, we didn’t eat any of the lamb you see pictured above (mostly because I saw the cute sheep alive about 30 minutes before I snapped this and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it). I’m sure it’s delicious though.

We started our day as a usual Thursday: wake up at 6:00 am, shove some pastries and over-boiled eggs from the cafeteria into a bag, eat said pastries in the office while drinking as much tea as humanly possible, and wait for the 7:55 am bell to ring to start class. This has been a fun week because I taught my students all about Thanksgiving and Native Americans. It was fun for me and super informative for them because many of our students think that “Native” Americans have blonde hair and blue eyes. Ha! Instead they learned cool words like “Choctaw” and “Kiowa” while learning a little history in the meantime. It was a fun lesson. My favorite part was showing my students a big picture of a turkey and asking them, “What sound does a turkey make?” For the most part, they had absolutely no idea. “Beep beep?” “Chirp?” “Quack” “Bwa bwa?”

Luckily, I took a video of this and you can enjoy it here. Watch their faces when I say “A turkey goes *turkey impression*.” They think I’m kidding. They also think turkeys are the size of small chickens. Oh kids, you’re extremely smart but sometimes you just have no idea.

Roasted pork belly with a side of pickled vegetables.

Roasted pork belly with a side of pickled vegetables.

Our good friend/fellow teacher Kane took me, Spenser, and Sahal to a lovely local place to treat us to Thanksgiving lunch. We had roasted pork belly and it was to die for. Probably the best pork I’ve ever had in China. Tender, fatty, juicy, flavorful. It was awesome. Oh, and the best part? This huge plate is only 12 kuai. That’s about $2.00. Happy Thanksgiving indeed!



After lunch, Spenser and I both taught one more class and then we talked with some students in our office for the next few hours. Most of them want to practice their English so we try to be available as much as we can. I don’t know how much they practiced today because I mostly just asked them food questions (I was starving), but I now know how to properly eat a persimmon, a jujube (I’m still not quite sure what the hell a jujube is but they’re everywhere here and they’re “good for your blood”), and they tried to convince me to try durian, but I still don’t want to because it smells like feet.

Because we were in the office for so long today, we came home and decided against going downtown tonight for a typical Thanksgiving feast. A few places around Shenzhen are having turkey dinners but most of those places are expensive and, thankfully, our awesome program is hosting its very own pot-luck Thanksgiving Saturday afternoon complete with all the fixings. So don’t worry dear family and friends, we’ll still have our turkey, just on Saturday instead of Thursday. I’ll add pictures of that feast later this week.

Mango roll

Mango roll covered in mayonnaise.

Instead, Spenser and I decided to feast on sushi. A pretty awesome sushi restaurant just opened in our neighborhood and we go there fairly often. It’s no big deal or anything, but Spenser has a VIP card. Tonight we enjoyed many rolls, some sashimi, and a Thanksgiving favorite, sake.

It's got socks, a coat, and a cone! This dog has too much style.

It’s got socks, a coat, and a cone! This dog has too much style.

My favorite part of the evening though came when a little brown poodle in socks, a coat, and a cone trotted past our seats. Naturally, I made a super high-pitched sound that nobody over the age of 12 should ever make, but when you miss your dog as much as I do, that noise eeks out anytime a cute dog is near. His mom noticed me staring and was kind enough to bring him over and let me pet him for a bit. Spenser chatted with her and she told us that “He’s wearing a coat because it’s cold outside.” Yes, it’s 63 degrees and the wind makes it a bit brisk, but I don’t think this pup’s entire outfit was necessary. Nevertheless, I was thankful for the fashionable sushi dog this Thanksgiving day.

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As the sushi went by and our stomachs filled up, I came to the realization of how perfectly content I was with this Thanksgiving. This is my first Thanksgiving away from home and I’ve been really kind of dreading it for the past few weeks. I was expecting it to be really heart-wrenching to be away from my family during this time of year. It is. But I’m thankful for just how busy I am right now. The weeks are flying by. I always have something to do, something to look forward to, some new place to go. And it’s so nice to have the ability to video chat with family; I would have never agreed to this adventure in the days of snail-mail!

And of course, Spenser is a big part of this current wave of happy feelings. He has helped me in so many ways here and he continues to try and make sure I’m happy and comfortable (and not starving because I’m awful at ordering my own food). I’m extremely thankful for him this Thanksgiving and I honestly cannot thank him enough for all of the wonderful things he does.

Ok, since our Thanksgiving day is coming to a close here and yours is just beginning, I’m going to bid you adieu and video chat with my family now. Maybe my sister took up the pie and mashed potato duty I left behind? We shall see!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!