Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chinese Thanksgivng Party

Saturday before Thanksgiving, we had the privilege of going to a Thanksgiving Party held by the school Jacob teaches at. We knew there would be no Thanksgiving dinner, and that there would probably be games of some sort.  Other than that, we weren't quite sure what to expect.  The school is a short 15 minute walk away, but the roads were snowy and icy that night.  Two teachers picked us and our teammates up in their cars at 6:15, and we were on our way.  Before entering the classroom, we were greeted by a friendly woman from Pakistan, H, and her 3 year old son. She was very kind, and eager to make friends.  We talked at various points throughout the night, and, by the end of our evening, she gave me her phone number, and invited me to dinner sometime.  When we entered, most of the students were sitting at tables covered in sunflower seeds, unshelled peanuts, candy and other packaged treats.  Our kids went immediately for the candy, of course.  There was a short presentation, and then the games began!
Our table won the first game, and we received our choice of decorative ink pens as a prize.  There were several other games, including a guessing game.  I have to admit, the "Angelina JUlie" part cracked me up.  Both kids instantly took to one of the girls there, A.  They played games with her, and A gave Eden her phone number.  Eden wrote her a card that I need to get to her soon.  They also had a time where the team with the lowest points had to share whatever was found on the papers in the balloons they popped.  Some of this involved singing.  Then, there were others who volunteered to sing afterward.  Eden was one of them.  She sang, "This is my Father's world."  She is so brave.  H also sang an Indian song; very beautiful.  As she was hastily leaving, a friendly New Yorker/Canadian gave me her card while stating, "Us expats never talk to each other."  Hoping to invite her to dinner soon, so that's no longer true. Overall, it was a fun evening, and we got a ride back with another teacher who brought her cute toddler daughter.

Thanksgiving party number two was held at our place, along with two other teammates.  Our team leader, Kristalyn, blessed us by ordering a turkey online!  It still amazes me!  It was a good day.  There were moments where I started to feel overwhelmed, and the stress was starting to show.
I was reminded that children generally remember holidays.  I didn't want mine to remember it being a stressful event.  So, I asked Father to help me, and put on a cartoon for the kids, served with hot chocolate.  Eden and Ephraim helped tidy, and Eden made the thanksgiving banner and helped decorate the chalkboard.  Our team leader was recovering from knee surgery, and the walk to our apartment was her first time out in several days.  She made the yeast rolls, which didn't last long at our house.  Our teammate, Jonathan, made the stuffing and mashed potatoes, and he graciously shelled the roasted pecans for me.  This is the first year Kristalyn has noticed pecans here, so we are very grateful.  A friend also donated a bag of shredded coconut that she had received in a package from the states.  I cooked the turkey.  It was only my second time to cook a turkey.
I was nervous, but it came out great with enough broth to make gravy.  The rest of the menu included my Granny's sweet potato casserole, garlic green beans (couldn't find the ingredients for green bean casserole), deviled eggs (or angel eggs as Kristalyn calls them), pumpkin pie, fudge pecan pie, and whole berry cranberry sauce that I found at an import store.  Xavier got to have turkey for his first time to eat meat.  We talked about what we were thankful for, Kristalyn played Uno and Sequence with the kids, and we watched  a couple of cartoons, including: Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, The Legend of the Candy Cane, and The Crippled Lamb.  It was a wonderful night, and good distraction for being homesick.  

Thanksgiving party number three
 was held Friday, which involved all the members of our org. in our city.  It was a huge potluck, provided with entertainment.  I spent most of my time back with the kids after eating.  I am so thankful to be working alongside so many amazing people from all different backgrounds.  

Showers of Blessing:
School that wants to make us feel at home.
Turkey, pecans, coconut, and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving!
Cute Thanksgiving outfit for Xavier.
Team leader who enjoys and plays with my children.
Thankful for those who have gone before us, enduring hardship, and making our lives here easier.

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