Many of my friends in America are still sleeping. So, I will wait til the morning to share my official Thanksgiving post. I had a different sort of Thanksgiving this year. I woke up feeling very home sick! I did not even want to get out of bed. But I reminded myself that God brought me to China for a purpose. I must be thankful that I have a reason to get out of bed. It was at that moment I received a text from a co-working thanking me for being a good friend. I still have people who care for me here. And yet, it is a very different sort of Thanksgiving for me, this year!
Instead of watching the Macy’s parade, I went to work and put on a brave smile. Much to my surprise the school had bought me a beautiful potted plant. I was so surprised I almost cried. One of my coworkers said to me, “Do not be so homesick. You have a new family here in China.” It is good to be reminded that family is not just those who share our blood, but also those who choose to love us. So, here I am in this strange country, 10,ooo miles away from my family and yet all day I am reminded with messages and gifts of thankfulness from my students and fellow teachers that – still I am surrounded by loved ones. It is very different sort of Thanksgiving, don’t you think?
Instead of watching football, playing music in the garage with the siblings and preparing food , I spent my Thanksgiving afternoon teaching classes. Yet, my students were so genuinely interested in the message of Thanksgiving. They also felt inspired to show their thankfulness to others each and every day. They wished they could personally experience this holiday we Americans call Thanksgiving. It is definitely a different sort of Thanksgiving I am experiencing!
If I were in America, I would have had a huge dinner feast of turkey and dressing (and my mom’s is the best) and casseroles and pumpkin pie. Instead, my fellow English teachers treated me to homemade Chinese dumplings. And yet there was lots of giggling and laughing as we shared this simple meal. As my sister would say, “There was lots of mirth!” I felt the warmth and affection of the hands who made this non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. I can not deny it is a different sort of Thanksgiving!
I can not say I am not homesick on this holiday (there may have been a few shed tears), but somehow those around me cured some of this feeling. In this foreign land the Chinese taught me visibly what it means to give thanks. I felt what it feels like to truly be be appreciated by others. Thousands of new friends here are thankful to have me in their life. They are thankful for even the littlest things. For all of of this, I am truly thankful!
It is a very different sort of Thanksgiving this year, indeed!