This is my seventh year avoiding the western holidays. But maybe it’s my last. Despite my best attempts at moving halfway across the world to a communist country the holidays have finally found me. Christmas is unavoidable, and it looks like Thanksgiving, the American-only holiday, has landed as well.
I’m not complaining. It’s been seven long turkey-less years. While the joke is that Chinese people eat anything, they definitely don’t eat turkey. It’s not a native animal and hasn’t really broken into the mainstream poultry market.
So to have a turkey you need to pay big bucks and pre-plan and order one. Too much trouble for me, but not for my friend Drew who is a big Thanksgiving fan.
So what does a thanksgiving in China look like? Here’s a few pics:
There were some traditional elements to the party too. Before we cut the bird (which turned out to be raw) we went around saying what we were grateful for. I said badminton ‘natch. I also got into a fight before dinner with some of my co-workers. (One co-workers, who was not the host and didn’t even say he was coming until the very last minute, ended up almost tripling the guest list when he opened the invitation to seemingly everyone he knew. The host reluctantly said yes to the first 4 people added, but then students and a friends roommate was also added, I freaked out and told him no and he couldn’t invite anyone else. I found it the height of rude to be inviting people to someone else’s house for dinner, and my co-worker got all mad at me.) But arguments and tempers flaring are traditional at thanksgiving right?! At least we didn’t fight about politics.
So it was my first thanksgiving in China. And the verdict? It was okay. Personally, the curmudgeon that I am, it wasn’t worth the time and money the host spent on it. But as a guest, who contributed some plates and store bought fancy cookies and did nothing else, it was fun. I could just hang out and relax with friends and eat.