Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Needed: Holiday Cheer

Dear Diary,

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm in China. It's really no fun at all here in China. No one knows much about Thanksgiving. They know it exists, so they know to ask me to tell them more about it. Of course, then I just depress myself describing a family get together with grandmother's dressing, all the kiddos running around, crisp, cool, (clean) air outside and familiar sounds and smells wafting all over the place. Somone nailed it on the head when they said there's no place like home for the holidays. The End.

Now, don't go thinking that I'm sinking into a deep depression or anything. I'm making it through life here. But it still stinks to high heaven to be here for Thanksgiving when there are going to be more than 60 people (counting babies) in Cleveland, MS this week for the Neal/Neely/Geer Thanksgiving blowout. And when you expect to be smelling nice things cooking in every home, you can only smell Chinesey things. Again, don't go thinking I don't like Chinesey foods. But it's waaaaay different than the 24 Thanksgivings I had in America. Of course, this is the 2nd one I've done in China so at least I knew to expect these feeling in advance.

So you're probably wondering what I've been doing to ward off this bout of holiday melancholy. Well let me tell you! Last week I made the mistake of teaching about Thanksgiving in my Tuesday night class. So the rest of the week I was having what we call a "bad China week". I didn't really care to be here. Most Chinese people aroused a desire to scream when they yelled hello at me, and I usually felt like punching them. Needless to say, that's not the best attitude to have. So, after some time spent in seclusion at home, some more time spent in company with foreigners, lots of Contemplation, and some phone calls from home, I'm back in the game. Yesterday I woke up and felt a little cruddy physically, but otherwise I felt in good spirits. After lunch with the guys and a trip to the plant market to buy something to spruce up my apartment, I came home and promptly felt worse. I ended up having to postpone my Tuesday evening class. I'm not really sick yet, but I feel like I might be getting sick soon. Mainly I had zero energy and I was pretty sure I couldn't stand or sit through two periods of class and be the teacher at the same time. And since you have to be standing or sitting in the room in order to teach class (let's not get into teaching by satellite, that's just not an option), I felt it was wise to postpone. Thankfully, I am paired with a Chinese coteacher for my Wednesday morning class, so I just called him up and he's teaching alone this morning. Thanks to that, I was able to go to bed incredibly early last night and sleep way past 9 this morning. I feel mostly better today. I have energy, at least.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. As foreigners, we get the whole day off. Any classes and lectures we have are cancelled. Too bad that's the one day of the week when I have nothing scheduled. Oh well! I didn't teach last night or today. That should make up for it. We reserved a party room at the nicest hotel in town, got two turkeys from Xi'an, got a restaurant in town to cook them for us, planned a flag football game with some students for in the morning. It should be a fair approximation of a true American Thanksgiving. Except that instead of green bean casserole we'll have stir fry. But that's okay. I'll take what I can get.

Here's where I would put something I'm thankful for, but I'm going to save that for tomorrow. It's not Thanksgiving yet, people!


Neal 24/7 said...

yeah i'm commenting before mom! even though there will be 60 people here for thanksgiving you ,brian neal, will be greatly missed. don't worry i'll eat your share of gma's dressing and boiled custard.:) I miss you every time i go home. this time will be no different. except i will be really, really full.


Katie said...

Happy Thanksgiving! It's about time you had a post. I totally understand how it feels to be away from your family on Thanksgiving. I am hope you have fun with the foreigners and know there are so many of us thinking of you.