Oh happy day!

December 3, 2009

Ooooh, WordPress is unblocked again.  I wonder for how long?

Since one of my last posts was about Thanksgiving 2008, I’ll take the opportunity to say a few words about Thanksgiving 2009, my fourth in Asia and third (ever) in Nanjing.

I remain as thankful as ever for black sesame glutinous rice balls.

But this year I had an unusual pleasure: my mom was visiting, and together we cooked up a massive meat-free, dairy-free Thankgiving feast.  Pumpkin soup for lunch, followed by a dinner of garlic mashed potatoes, pumpkin and cornbread dressing, red pepper and green bean stir-fry, and broccoli with garlic.  Followed, of course, with an excellent apple crisp, the leftovers of which I’m still enjoying.

But Thanksgiving is not about the food.  I mean, it can be about the fact that we’re thankful to have food, but there’s so much more to it.  I’d argue it’s not even about the people, though that’s one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday.  But the most thankful I ever felt for everything I had was the year I was all by myself in a crappy apartment in Nanjing with some potatoes and beer and no heat and a paper to write, because I realized how lucky I was not to have every year be like that.  That’s a rarity, not the rule in my life.

This year I was thankful to have family that’s not only willing to fly half-way around the world to see me when I’m living abroad all alone, but in my mom’s case, to do it for the third time.  I was thankful for good friends, like my friend in Korea I’ve known for nine years and who cheerfully hosted me when I went to meet my mom in Seoul a day early.  I was thankful for the rest of my family, scattered in various locations, all celebrating in their own way.

I was also thankful for heat, which had only been turned on in my apartment a few days before.  Oh, and my oven.  I’m thankful for my oven almost daily.

Now, however, Thanksgiving is over, my mom is back in the US, and I’m decorating for Christmas.  In the “obviously some things are universal” category: half my Christmas lights didn’t work when I took them out of the closet.  I guess it’s time for the traditional holiday run to Walmart for new ones.