Monday, November 28, 2011

A Chinese Thanksgiving ~ 2011

You may ask how "expats" celebrate Thanksgiving in a place where Thanksgiving is a regular, old business day. Here is how we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Beijing. Hubby worked and did a career presentation at one of the international schools. E had a volleyball game at another international school and took the 6:00 bus home, arriving downtown at 7:10. D took the 3:40 bus, arriving downtown at 4:40.

We were actually going to have Mac N' Cheese for dinner as it was Thursday and Thursday is a cooking night. We had already made plans to feast on Saturday with friends. But after seeing all the Facebook posts of my American friends preparing their traditional foods (remember we are a day ahead) I decided to pick up the phone and make reservations at "Grandma's Kitchen" for a traditional Thanksgiving set menu. Besides, E was going to miss our Saturday feast due to a far away volleyball tournament.

We met E at the bus stop and walked to the restaurant. We frequent this particular restaurant often, as it is good Western food and it is close by. It usually costs our family between 150-250 RMB  ($21-$37 USD). This special Thanksgiving feast cost us 840 RMB ($126 USD)!! That has been our most expensive meal here in Beijing to date, I guess you do those kinds of things for a bit of tradition....

.....So, do you wanna know what we got for our money?
Soup choice: broccoli and cheese or pumpkin. I chose pumpkin

Appetizer choice: turkey roll-ups (above) or bacon wrapped shrimp (below)

Salad choice: Waldorf (in last picture) or Spinach, bacon and pear (above)

Dinner plate consisted of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing and veggies and cranberry sauce.
 We were very impressed with the taste of the traditional foods. We were missing rolls though!
Thanksgiving feast at "Grandma's Kitchen" in Beijing, China
 So grateful that we are an eternal family!
Dessert choice: pumpkin pie (above), apple pie (above) or sweet potato pie
 It was a nice night. Although it was odd for the kids to have homework and to have to go to school the very next day.

On Saturday we were invited to our friends' house, along with many other families from church.  I was in charge of sweet potatoes! How lucky we are to have a man on the corner of our street who roasts large sweet potatoes in a barrel. I bought 10 large ones for 50 RMB ($7.50 USD). After mashing them up I added cream cheese, butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. They were the best sweet potatoes I've ever made!
Moi doing my best Chinese bartering.
 Not really, I was just counting how many I wanted. I have to use my fingers to count in Chinese still
 With about thirty five people there we had a ton of food!
 It was fabulous!
Those homemade rolls were amazing!

One of the many desserts: mini cheesecakes with kiwi, strawberry and mint.
Yes, you can find those ingredients  in China!
 But the best part of the day was not about the food. It was about different people, from different places, coming together and making memories. 

A great surprise was that the bus transporting E from the train station back to her school was passing through the city and she was able to get off and join us! I was very, very happy to see her!
E and her gal pals

D and a few of the boys
 We are so very grateful that we have only been here four months and we have friends who already feel like family! A few families have kids the exact same age as E and D...and the fact that they get along makes it all the better!
The entire Thanksgiving gang! (minus me who was acting as photographer)
We ended the night by writing down one thing we are thankful for and having to guess who wrote what. Then we played a couple of rounds of "Werewolf" (not Twilight related) which is a game like "Mafia".
Our first Chinese Thanksgiving had a few weepy homesick moments, 
but it was a blast and a total success!

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