posted by Sarah
It’s been a while since our last post and things have settled to a sort of amicable predictability with work. We just passed the first half of the semester – a real milestone – and there’s a mixture of pleasure for having successfully passed the gauntlet, as it were, as well as a dire feeling that the first 9 weeks of teaching crawled by at a snail’s pace. Hopefully the second half will roll on smoothly!
Yesterday we celebrated a subdued Thanksgiving sans turkey with our non-American friends, Gareth (from Wales) and his wife, Ying (a local Shanghainese). We baked an apple crumble in their toaster oven, which turned out quite well, all things considered. The night before we had “pumpkin pie” – actually small ball-ish cakes of glutinous rice with pumpkin in the center that are deep-fried. Crisp on the outside, and gooey pumpkin in the center. Not bad for “pumpkin pie,” but most definitely not the real deal.
Last weekend we had the privilege of hosting my dad, who had just finished a tour of China (he’s a travel agent). It was a short but nice visit, wherein we tucked into fine meals and listened to fine tales of Dad’s childhood spent in Malaysia, China and Singapore. As for sightseeing, we didn’t go out much on account of the soggy and freezing weather. It was great to see him, and we were sorry to see him go–we don’t have any more visitors coming until next March or April, so we must settle ourselves in for a long winter abstinence from friends and family from our old life.
This brings me to the next subject: what I’m thankful for. After all, it is the season for giving thanks!
Firstly, companionship. I’m (superlative here) grateful that I’m here in China with my spouse, Joel. I know that life would be much different without having this lifelong partner to share in these misadventures.
Family. Even though we’re spread thin across the globe, having family to silently support us is a vast encouragement and I don’t think we would be who we are today without our family. So thanks to you all!
Friends. Regular e-missives from our friends (not to mention the visitors we’ve had) really buoy our spirits. We are extremely lucky to have made such great friends over the years. You know who you are. I’m also thankful for the few friends we’ve made here, although it’s been tough to do so because of our busy schedules and the language barrier.
The internet. Okay, so this officially marks me from the generation to whom technology is indispensable, but it’s true. Having such a nifty way of correspondence and information dissemination makes communication with aforementioned parties a snap.
Home. Even though we’ve lived in more places than the number of years we’ve been married, Joel and I have been extremely lucky in the places where we’ve laid our heads. Our current situation in China is no exception. We are afforded comforts – even luxuries – that have cushioned our transition to living in China.
Jobs. Transitioning into a teaching job hasn’t been easy, but the challenges have, for the most part, been rewarding. I feel myself stretching my abilities in unknown directions, and I’m learning so much more than I think I’m teaching. I’m thankful for this experience.
For all this, we give thanks.