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Tall redhead in a sea of Asians

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving in China

In preparation for thanksgiving, we spent a few weeks going over thanksgiving vocabulary, which confirmed my fears about the idiocy of many of my students: after 3 weeks, half the kids still didn’t know what a pilgrim was. I feel slightly guilty for my thanksgiving lesson plans, because in face of these comprehension barriers I grossly simplified things and in doing so I think I may have ended up perpetuating some American historical half-truths and maybe even some downright lies – “Hey kids, Thanksgiving was when some people came on a ship from England to America, and when they got there, they made friends with the Indians, so they had a big party together to show how thankful they were.” Despite their inability to remember “pilgrim”, they were very sure about what “Indians” were (“Native Americans” seemed like too much of a stretch) and also the noise they make: “Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo”. We made Indian hats one class and the little monsters ran around screaming their battle cries while I worried that I was single-handedly destroying all the historical accuracy and cultural sensitivity anthropologists, historians and tribal groups have been working to cultivate surrounding the Thanksgiving myth.

The Wild Savages

Apparently turkeys are in short supply in China so we were worried about how we were going to put together a thanksgiving meal, considering how even if we were to find a bird, we don’t have an oven. Luckily, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse in town put on an awesome Thanksgiving buffet, complete with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing (and sushi, rice, chicken feet and other local delicacies, and traditional Brazilian-style meat-on-a-stick)…all in all, quite a spread, and pretty much ever foreigner in town was packed into the restaurant. Though it was really sad not to be at home with everyone (and to be missing mom’s coffee cake, Beth’s vegetable pie, and Woburn destroying Winchester as usual), it was actually pretty cool being here for Thanksgiving – there was a great sense of comraderie between all the expats and being out of my usual situation made me really, REALLY think about all the things in my life at home that I am so thankful for (like heated buildings) as well as reflect on and appreciate the awesome experience I’m having here.

Of course, I am so, SO thankful for all of YOU! A special shoutout to all my very devoted readers who have been so awesome about letting me know that my blogging attempts aren’t completely boring all the time: Dad, Mom, Lil, Mar, Jane, Colette, Mon, Ceej, Rachel, Rob, Gordy, Kevi, Kevin, Vasco, Patty, Beth, Jill, and Brent. I love you guys (and the rest of you who are reading on the sly!) and thanks for all your support.

Posted by Kate at 5:21 AM

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