At some point in the last few weeks I came 'home' from a weekend at the farm to find that the water on campus was shut off. I found out the next day that a pipe burst in the city I guess and so then I was thinking it might be a long time before they get it fixed. I went almost 5 days without a shower (gross, I know). I'm sure you understand it means to have no running water: no showers, no cleaning dishes, no water to cook with. I'm pretty sure the power went out for a while one of those days too. My VPN was blocked. There was just a lot going on that week. A lot that would never usually occur at home (America).
That short little experience kind of summarized what Thanksgiving is for me. Every year I'm always thankful for my family and friends and good food and health. The typical American thing to be thankful for. Still all important, but kind of routine for me sometimes. This year, I realized SO many little things that I am incredibly thankful for that I so often take for granted:
-Technology: Having skype, texting, facebook, this blog, email, and whatever other ways I communicate w/ people through technology has made this experience a million times easier. I can't imagine doing all of this without all of the contact I have w/ home.
-Drinkable sink water: I can't drink the water from my own sink here. Strange isn't it? It's normal. Most people here don't drink their sink water. Everyone has jugs they drink from. You don't drink the water you brush your teeth with. Little things like that you don't think about in America.
-Internet freedom: It's not so much having facebook and my blog and Target.com that make me happy, it's knowing that I have the freedom to access those sites. That the government isn't denying me access to search what I want to online.
-The ability to vote: I didn't vote this year. I didn't even really think about the fact that there would be a presidential election. But I taught my students about it. They know virtually nothing about politics. Why study it when they have no say in what goes on? They don't get to participate so they don't really care. I get to though. I get to vote. And honestly, I've never really cared. I hope that changes when I get home.
-Freedom of religion: WHEW!!!! That's a whole big issue. I can't even get into it now. All I will say is that I am sooooo thankful that I come from a country where I can go to choose to believe what I want and I can talk about it when and where I want without fear.
-Every single person supporting me at home: At home I often don't fully understand how supported and loved I am. I am very aware of it here... and extremely thankful for all of it.
-My friends here: Having a group of 8 girls to celebrate a pretty significant American holiday with was such a blessing. I'll get to that now.
I spent the day before Thanksgiving preparing everything. I had to make a list of what I was cooking and when I needed to start everything. I'm limited with cooking space so I had to plan carefully. I've never ever cooked any part of Thanksgiving dinner/dessert. I eat. That's about all. I watch the food cook and I smell it and I get hungry and I eat it. Not so lucky this year. I was terrified. BUT it all turned out great!
We had green bean casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, rolls, glazed carrots, duck, and pumpkin pie... and peanut milk to drink. Best Thanksgiving? Possibly.
We had a short little lesson, cooked for a while, and spent the next few hours eating and talking. It could not have been any better. It was such a perfect day. Of course I missed being with my family, but I got to celebrate Thanksgiving in China. How many people get to do that? Cook their first Thanksgiving 800 miles away from home with a group of incredible Chinese girls? ME!
|I definitely bought an apron because I could. This is Thanksgiving morning: the start of the cooking.|
Our conversations are great. We talked about everything. Relationships, crazy roommates, jokes. Some of these girls are so smart and observant. They can explain themselves so well in English and getting into their head and understanding them continually impresses me and makes me feel so blessed to call them my friends.
That's pretty much all for that. They next morning I headed to Dali with some American friends for a relaxing weekend in a beautiful tourist spot. That'll be my next post.