Thanksgiving in Lin’an, China

East Lake at the end of November

East Lake reflection

The Old Man and the Sea

So what do US citizens in China do for Thanksgiving Day?  Well it wasn’t our normal gathering with many friends under the shady kiawe trees at Kam III with the ocean sparkling beyond our picnic tables.  But it was good.  Since Thanksgiving this year fell on November 25, it was also Barry’s birthday, so, of course, we needed to celebrate for a few reasons.  We invited to our apartment the other foreign teachers and three of the Chinese students: Diana, Rahman, and Abukim, who have been helping us, for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner.  The potluck was complicated a bit since Sarah Jean, Drew, and I teach class until 8:20pm, but we figured we would get to the gathering in time for leftovers and dessert, and we did.

Were you worried that we wouldn't have enough to eat?

Actually these photos are from the competition this weekend among the three cafeterias on our ZAFU campus. Our Thanksgiving table was much more modest--but good.

That Thursday started with Barry leaping from bed at 5:30am to catch the 6:00am bus to Hangzhou.  Carrefour, the big department store, had a sale on toaster ovens at one-half the normal price, so he wanted to get that bargain and be able to start having toast and baked dishes. Before Carrefour opened, he was able to stop at his favorite Hangzhou bakery for yummy breads like walnut raison and chocolate wheat and spend a few hours walking along the West Lake paths in the sunny, cool weather that is now perfect for such outings.   Soon, he will share his recent solo visits into Hangzhou with photos and a report.  Although the toaster ovens were all sold out even though he was there early, he didn’t come home empty handed.  He bought an electric blanket (which we use just to heat the bed since we’ve been advised not to sleep with the blanket plugged in).  It certainly warms the sheets, and he bought it just in time for the cooling temperatures here in Lin’an.  While there, he also bought goodies for our potluck including a cooked chicken because turkeys are no where to be found and got various Chinese treats to use as pupus for the potluck.

Barry got back in time to finish his chili. I had time between classes to wash the floor, rearrange the furniture, and start the rice.  Just as I was running out to my 6:30 class, Rahman and Abukim arrived and gave us traditional Ueigur wedding headgear.

Abukim, Barry, & Renee with Ueigur wedding hats

Other guests soon followed, and when I got back to our apartment about 8:30, the place was packed; however there was still plenty for me to eat.  Although turkey and pumpkin pie were not to be found, we had lots of selection and variety: duck with Husain sauce and ratatouille from Patrick, the Irish guy who had a restaurant and is an excellent cook; mashed potatoes with chives, which I especially loved, and stuffing from Becky and Ryan, from Mark a pizza from Cindy’s Pizzeria, yummy macaroni and cheese that Sarah had baked in Cindy’s oven, lots of dumplings of various sorts, and many other treats.  Barry hadn’t wanted others to feel they needed to bring presents, so the birthday part was only mentioned in passing.  He did get to hear “Happy Birthday” in Chinese and have a birthday cake that had shaved chocolate and tomatoes on the top (since tomatoes are considered fruit). It was wonderful to get together and chat.  As on Maui, we all seem busy teaching and don’t have time for much more than a wave at each other in passing.  When we all started laughing at Drew for crunching crackers, we knew we were tired and it was time to finish our Thanksgiving celebration.

Ryan, Abukim, Rahman, Sarah, Becky, Mark, and Diana

Sarah Jean, Rahman, me . . . notice the cake at the front edge of the table: chocolate shavings and tomatoes!

Patrick and Barry

Barry did get special presents because we are in China and it is getting continually colder。  His favorite is probably the blue plaid toilet seat cover to prevent the shock of freezing his bum, two electric hand warmers (one I’ve already appropriated because it works so well), a set of beautiful blue patterned ceramic tea cups with lids to help keep the contents warm, a bottle of Grand Dragon wine, some Chinese beer, a ping pong set of paddles and balls, seasoned sun flower seeds, and a few other Chinese treats.  Ryan and Becky also left him a bottle of the locally popular rotgut wine, not for the alcohol but for the beautiful bamboo bottle.

Ghastly alcohol in a beautiful bamboo bottle

Barry opening his Chinese flute birthday present

Although we miss all of you, overall we had a great day and hope you did too.

Other scenes around town during the Thanksgiving week:

Wed. office hours: Luya, Millie, Cheryl, Jessica, Barry, Zoe, Tony, Lillian, Mable, Judy, Wendy, & Cathy

Friday: Crazy English Event

Skaters near the ZAFU entrance

Even the evergreen trees are changing color

Many of the Lin'an girls are very interested in fashion

Lin'an bridge at sunset

We hope everything is going well for you.  Aloha,  Barry & Renee

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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