It’s my favorite holiday and it’ll be our second one in Shanghai. I really miss our loved ones back in the states and everything about this holiday.
I absolutely love the food during Thanksgiving and although they have Thanksgiving dinners around Shanghai… they are quite expensive and not quite the same as a home cooked meal. One of these days, I’ll attempt it… perhaps without a turkey (it’s so crazy expensive here) and the sides. But tonight, the hubs boss is taking us to a steak house! So although not Thanksgiving meal, it is American.
The best part about this holiday is being thankful. I have so much to be thankful for, especially this year. Being an expat here has been quite rough in the beginning. I couldn’t speak the language, understand anyone and since I am Korean… people assume that I’m Chinese. They immediately begin to say how terrible my Chinese is, until they find out I’m Korean! LOL Then suddenly I’m amazing.
But since it’s been difficult, I’ve been studying a lot and I am thankful for my Chinese teacher. Miss Zhang has made Chinese so fun and that has made it very easy to learn. She is always a glimmer of sunshine and genuinely kind. Because of her, my Chinese is now at a place of comfort and I can read around 100+ characters in Chinese. I can go out, bargain/buy things… take cabs without a problem, have basic conversations and most importantly: being able to talk to my MIL.
I have to say that it’s so nice being able to speak Chinese with my MIL, we’ve shared quite a few moments of heart to hearts because of Chinese. English doesn’t translate well at all. Because of Chinese, I understand my in laws a lot more now… The Chinese language is so different from English/Korean. It’s brought me even closer to them and I’m thankful for that.
Living in Shanghai has made me drastically more independent. I never thought about how difficult it is, living in another country and being a foreigner. Simple things like ordering food, buying things and well… conversing with people were so difficult. But now, I feel comfortable going out by myself and doing things I once did in NYC. I’m thankful that after a year or so, I’m feeling like Shanghai is home.
I’ve made a few friends here and there, it’s actually not that easy to meet people like me. I feel like the locals see me as a foreigner and the foreigners see me as a local. I feel like I’m stuck in the middle where I don’t know where I fit in. Perhaps I should reach out more and find expats, though… I’m not even sure where to begin with that. However, I am thankful for the friends I do have here. They have been unbelievably nice and generous to the hubs and I. They always check up on me to see how I’m doing and ask if I need anything. It’s really nice to have good friends here.
I’m crazy happy and thankful that I am pregnant. Even on the days where I don’t feel all that great, I’m smiling because I have a little, itty bitty baby in my belly. My heart is filled with love and joy that my wish to be a mother, to have a family of my own has begun. I can’t wait to have our little Boram grow up in Shanghai and get to experience Chinese culture with us. Hopefully Boram will also learn Korean and Cantonese since mommy and daddy speak those, but I’m perfectly happy if all it knows is Mandarin and English.
I think about my friends back home and how much time and energy they have spent towards me.
Since we moved here, HJ (bff) has contacted me nearly every day and talked to me. It’s been something I look forward to, especially on days I woke up lonely. She’s been a constant source of encouragement, support and love. She’s been there at my lowest lows and stuck by me. I have to say… if you have a friend half as awesome as HJ, you are blessed. (Um.. she even talked to me during her labor, that is commitment!)
Jess (NCMC) has always been a support and she had a newborn! She always made time to reach out to me. She’s offered advice, support and a shoulder to lean on. It really amazes me how wonderful she is to me. I am truly lucky to have her in my life.
Vivian, Meli and Qing (NCMC + Jess) are my closest girlfriends from back home. They always reach out, tell me they miss and love me. Listen to me whine about my terrible days and offer support. These girls make me feel so special, always been there and you know those warm, fuzzy feelings you get when you’re all happy and feel loved? Yeah, those girls make me feel that all the time. I just love them so much.
And of course my husband. It isn’t just Thanksgiving that I’m thankful for him. Every single day, he amazes me with how much he loves me. I honestly had no idea that love could be like this. He never, ever gets upset or angry with me. He always greets me with open arms and kisses. The moment I am feeling lonely or unhappy (especially being here) he does everything in his power to cheer me up and to tell me I’m not alone.
Even the little things like… oh I don’t know, a fruit tart that I was craving last night. He calls up every bakery in Shanghai (at 9pm), finds a place that has one. Takes a cab all the way across town, in the cold and rain. Gets there, they end up not having it. Goes to another bakery and finds something similar (since nowhere has one that late), brings me home a multitude of desserts… just because I am craving it.
I ask him… “You don’t have to do this! Isn’t this so annoying?”
Him: “Of course not, I would do anything for you. You crave fruit tarts, I will get you four. Besides, fresh air is good!”
Ugh, he makes me tear up sometimes. He had a long day at work and he went all over town looking for a fruit tart for me (sad, they sold out everywhere) but he told me today he’s getting me some!
It’s not just the things he goes out of his way to get for me but his heart. He makes me feel so loved, so happy and I have nothing to fear. He’s made home a safe place for me, a first since I grew up as a child in a house of abuse.
He is my family. I love him so much.
So this Thanksgiving… I’m thankful for a lot of things but these things especially.
What are you thankful for?
I hope you all have a wonderful, safe and happy Thanksgiving.
ps: take pictures of your thanksgiving meal and send them to me. I miss that so much. xo