Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Shanghai Style Thanksgiving

One of the perks of being an American English teacher in Shanghai is I have been encouraged to teach kids about American holidays!  So, what had previously been a two-day holiday of eating and shopping turned into a four-day celebration of gratitude! 

The party actually started on Thanksgiving Day itself.  The idea of teaching on a day when I should have been basting a bird did not put me in the best of moods, but I got over my attitude pretty quickly.   For the entire day, I showed a PowerPoint containing pictures of a glistening turkey, recited the poem “Ten Little Turkeys”, and even passed on the tradition of making hand turkeys!  It was difficult to stay grumpy when teaching about gratitude. 

Two of my fourth grade students create hand turkey masterpieces.

It's not the Macy's parade, but I will take it. :)  I love first graders. 
After a full day of teaching, Chris and I decided to celebrate Turkey day Shanghainese style.  We went out for Beijing Duck at Lao Beijing! 

We pretended this amazing lotus and bean dish was mashed potatoes.

The chef served the duck skin with kiwi on a Pringle.  It was AMAZING!

It's not turkey, but it was tasty!

For the first time in my life, my Thanksgiving dinner was staring at me. 

I was so thankful for the festive decorations.

The next day, I completed another round of Powerpoints and thankful hand turkeys so I was ready to celebrate by the end of the day.  We kicked off our weekend with an Elton John concert. 

On the way to the concert, I bumped into the author of one of my favorite expat blogs, Donuts to Dumplings. Her blog was one of the first that I read before moving to Shanghai, and her posts have been extremely helpful with getting settled.  If you would like to see another family going through what Chris and I are experiencing, I would take a look.

I take a moment to pose with cardboard Elton before the concert.
The man knows how to put on an awesome show!
Sir Elton was in fine form.  For a little over three hours, we rocked out to classics like “Bennie and the Jets”, “Crocodile Rock”, and “Saturday Night”.  Both he and his opening band left us wanting more.

After sleeping in on Saturday, we headed over to my friend Meg’s place for Thanksgiving part one.  Her meal was nothing less than awesome! Too bad we didn’t have enough food. J 

I was so excited to dig in to the meal I described to my students.

Chris and I dined with Meg, Danny and some new Dutch friends.
It was fun to pig out on turkey and pass out while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but we had to pace ourselves.  The next day would be Thanksgiving celebration number two at our house for more of our expat friends.

This turkey day gathering was one of the easiest I have thrown.  Since ovens are hot commodities over here (pun intended), many grocery stores and restaurants deliver full Thanksgiving dinners.  So I cooked my turkey by ordering it online.  At 10:30, a nice man delivered a big juicy bird, gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pies, and rolls in a Styrofoam warmer.  Throw in a salad, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, roast veggies, home made pierogies, cranberry sauce, apple cobbler, some home brewed beer, and some great friends and you have the recipe for an awesome Thanksgiving. 

This was the easiest Thankgiving dinner ever!  Thank you, City Shop for a taste of home!
Dinner number 2 was super yummy!  So many homey dishes made me feel like I was back in the Midwest.
Chris defoams one of his bottles of homebrew.  His Belgian beer was a hit!
After consuming tons of calories, we had a great time chatting and playing games.
Our friend, Uwe selects a piece of Jenga.
Vivian successfully blows a few cards off the top of a bottle.  

After 10 hours of food, fun and games it was time to hit the sack.  I can say that my first international Thanksgiving was one I will always remember.