Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Land of Chopsticks

Happy belated Thanksgiving! While this wasn't my first Thanksgiving away from home, it was my first one outside of the country. As far as Thanksgiving break, our professors pulled a "China" on us - giving us a day off, but requiring us to make up the work. We normally have Wednesday off, but Thanksgiving week we had class on Wednesday, but got Friday off for Thanksgiving break, though we still had class on Thursday. This raises an important philosophical question: when you're thirteen hours ahead of home, does that mean Thanksgiving is Thursday (while it's still primarily Wednesday in the US) or Friday (when it's Thursday there)? The student complaints about not getting Thanksgiving off later proved to be a moot point; on Thursday morning, our TA emailed that our professor was sick, so class was canceled! I still had language class that afternoon, but it meant we got an extra long weekend (4 days, but 5 if you count the field trip on Monday that we have instead of class).

Thanksgiving was largely uneventful, with just language class and too much time watching US television shows online. As a group, we didn't do anything for Thanksgiving, but a few small groups went for Beijing Roast Duck. Asta and Sibei, two of my classmates, invited me along to go eat a real Thanksgiving dinner, prepared by one of the restaurants in San Li Tun, the foreign embassy district. We called ahead for a reservation, but alas, they were completely full, and so we found another restaurant serving Thanksgiving dinner. We hurried back to our dorm from the UChicago center to change/get all spiffied up, and then took to metro to the stop Asta said was closest, in the northeast part of the city. Unfortunately, as we left the subway stop, Asta and Sibei realized neither of them had thought to write down the address or phone number of the restaurant, and I had assumed they had. This problem was only compounded by not knowing the Chinese name of the Marriott hotel, where the restaurant was. We wandered around for about half an hour, and took a taxi who's driver said he knew where it was. We were happy to finally be on our way, right up until the point he pulled up in front of a Sheraton hotel.

We eventually made it to the restaurant, and had a complete Thanksgiving dinner, with green bean casserole, butternut squash soup, and pumpkin pie. :) The only thing missing was mashed potatoes, though we joked about going and getting some from Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was kind of funny (not in a "haha" kind of way, but in a "hmmm, that's very interesting" kind of way - Princess Bride reference, for those of you who didn't recognize it!) to eat with a fork and knife again, but it was great to eat Western style food and hang out in a restaurant where English was spoken. :) Getting there was certainly an adventure that made this Thanksgiving another memorable one. :)

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