Thanksgiving in China.

Before living in America I didn’t truly understand the concept of Thanksgiving.  And then after my first Thanksgiving dinner with ‘Nana Sally’ and family in 2010,  I understood why so many Americans treat this as their favorite holiday. It’s a time for gathering family and friends without the hype decorations and presents of Christmas to simply eat together and be grateful/thankful.
Why am I talking about Thanksgiving in China?  Well, there are quite a number of American expatriates so I decided to have a Thanksgiving brunch …but I actually ended up inviting a Canadian/Belgian couple and an Italian/British couple and kids!  We ate sweet potato and millet cakes, broad bean and dill dip, spiced roasted cauliflower, green salad and pumpkin pie!
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I also wanted to share a story with you that our friend Hendrik recounted at last-year’s Thanksgiving luncheon in Santa Barbara which is a reminder to reflect on what we might want to achieve with our lives:

The Greek Fisherman

 “A corporate executive, on holiday in a small, Greek seacoast village, was strolling by the docks and taking in the local color. He complimented one fisherman on the quality of his catch. “How long did it take you to get all those fish?” he wondered.“Not very long,” answered the Greek. “An hour or two.”“Then why didn’t you stay out longer to catch more?”

Shrugging, the Greek explained that his catch was sufficient to meet his needs, and those of his family.

The executive asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a nap with my wife. In the evening, I watch the sunset on the beach, then go to the village to see my friends, dance a little, play the bouzouki, and sing songs. I have a full life.”

The executive said, “I have an MBA from Harvard. I can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You’ll catch extra fish that you can sell. With the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring you, you can buy a second boat and a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.

You can ship fish to markets all around the world. In time, you can then move to New York City to direct your huge enterprise.” “How long would that take?” asked the Greek.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the executive.

“And after that?”

“When your business gets really big, you can sell stock and make millions!” exclaimed the executive with excitement.

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a small village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a nap with your wife, and spend your evenings watching the sunset on the beach and then singing, dancing, and playing the bouzouki with your friends.”

HA 🙂

And while I’m on the topic of being thankful, I’m sooo very grateful for Huntun (wonton) soup.  YUM.

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7 comments on “Thanksgiving in China.

  1. Kim says:

    Love your post , love the fishing story. Often feel as if we are running in circles, great perspective. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Delphine says:

    CA faisait longtemps que je n’étais pas allée sur ton blog mais c’est toujours un réel plaisir de te lire et de suivre votre vie sur place si différente de la notre. J’aime tes commentaires et les détails que tu peux donner sur la nourriture, les animaux, les enfants. C’est vraiment très intéressant!
    Gros bisous a tous les quatre,
    Delphine&Arno

  3. claire&co says:

    nous non plus, on ne comprenait pas l’intérêt de Thanksgiving avant de vivre à SB, mais ça, c’était avant!! Vous nous manquez, des bisous à tous les 4!!

  4. John HESS says:

    Hey, didn’t I brief you on Thanksgiving in the mid-2000’s in Grenoble ? I have a picture of you and Seb gorging yourselves on turkey ! Alas, I’m not much of a pedagogue. . . .Now, back to napping with my wife !

    • Ah yes – especially the turkey and cranberries – but what I really enjoy about the celebration is the time to get really teary-eyed and sentimental (for just a moment) whilst expressing gratitudes. Grateful for our friendship John 🙂

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