Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm thankful for...

As anxious and churn-y as it makes me each year, I realized that I really do miss the "let's interrupt this elongated prayer by having everyone around the table announce, in a cleverly opaque and general way, what they're thankful for this Thanksgiving" tradition. Also, the family and food and the night-before-Thanksgiving tension that runs through my parents' house like static electricity.

People--even when I don't want to be around them.
I had this grand idea when I decided to move here that, to spare myself the awkwardness of spending the winter holidays with people I didn't really know or care for, I would spend them alone (hopefully while traveling). Instead, I went for a western-ish food at this strange HK bistro with Jared and Dallas. It was quite tasty; I had snake (meh), salad, a Cajun-seasoned chicken breast, and a piece of walnut pie from Paris Baguette (an out-of-this-world Korean bakery that's sprouting up all over China). I was glad to spend it with them and not by myself; as much of a self-pitying masochist as I can be sometimes, it's nice to...well, not be that.

One of my former students died this week. He was 19, and suffered a heart attack. His girlfriend is one of my E-mail correspondents, and I had the grave misfortune of standing next to her as she received the news via telephone. If you've never witnessed someone receive such news, let me tell you: it's chilling.

When I think of my aunt's stint as an ex-pat in France many years ago, I often wonder how she managed to survive on her own with only postal mail and the (very) occasional, expensive phone call. My experience has lacked the emotional sacrifices I was looking forward to since I'm so connected to the shadow of my old life thanks to the Internet, but I'll gladly waive that personal growth.

Time, and the non-existence of time.
I'm glad that I took this opportunity when I did. I'm glad I'm 24, and that the stars aligned and that I left for Anywhere at just the right time. I'm also glad, conversely, that no matter how old I am or what year it is or what day of the week it is, it is always the right time to do something important for yourself.

I just opened a Christian E-card wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving from one of my Chinese students. What next... (Also, Christianity is seen as a networking ploy by most of the Chinese "Christians" I've run into over the months. They assume that "all" westerners are Christian, and feel like it's a club they should join to better acclimate themselves to their surroundings. Ugh.)

Yes, you.

1 comment:

Gwendolyn said...

...or should I say