06 December 2006

Thankgiving in Tianjin

So I ventured out in this big world of China all on my own for Thanksgiving. At the beginning of the school year, we were able to negotiate with our school to have the traditional two day holiday for American Thanksgiving. It was a welcomed break! I was able to get a flight out of Shanghai on Wednesday evening to jump start the long weekend. To get there, I had to take a taxi from school to the bus station, then I took an airport shuttle from there to the smaller airport in Shanghai. From Shanghai, it was less than two hours by air to Tianjin. I was in wonder at travelling such huge distances all weekend long without even coming close to get behind the wheel of a vehicle--I read and listened to music, which was quite relaxing!
I travelled to Tianjin to visit my dear friends the Kennedys. They were hosting a huge get together of their friends from training this summer. There were three other families, so there was a grand total of 8 kids under the age of 7. We all arrived in China around the same time and so we are all about at the same level in adjusting to the culture. They are all studying the language and are significantly more advanced than I am in terms of communication.
The school in Tianjin had a half day on Thursday so I was able to observe some classes. It was eye-opening to see where our school could be in a few years and what exactly a true international school looks like. One of the teachers was so kind as to set aside some school supplies for me to take back to Wuxi. We now have some math manipulatives and a few real textbooks. It took over my luggage on the way home, but it was totally worth it.
Our Thanksgiving meal was not the usual turkey and gravy, but rather Chinese ribs and sweet and sour chicken, mashed potatoes and a green bean casserole--a nice combo of both cultures! Food was a theme to the weekend, as there is an import store right around the corner. I was able to make coconut macaroons (I don't have an oven here) and buy some American candy (Reese's, Twix, and Heath all have not made their debut in Wuxi). We even fit some shopping in and I got some new warm clothes.
By far, the highlight of the weekend was conversation and building relationships. I've meet some great people in Tianjin and I felt very welcomed there. It was wonderful to sit down and just talk honestly with friends, both newer and older friends--as that part of my soul doesn't fed so much any more. I felt affirmed and poured into all weekend and it gave me the energy to come back and keep on giving here.

Blogger's being fickle again, so I had to post the pictures to Picasa Web Albums. Click here to see pictures from Thanksgiving.

I have more crazy stories from the last two weeks for a post later this weekend, which will include fluff sandwiches, no electricity, me teaching ESL. Good stuff, eh? :) Oh just wait--it gets even better!


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