Posted on January 5, 2018
Spending the Holidays Abroad
Someone said don’t even try to recreate a holiday in China because it will never feel the same. Bean and I are often traveling, so we make the most of every holiday. We live a unique life. Our holiday celebrations will never be completely traditional. There are many holidays I choose to ignore. There are a few I celebrate because I want Bean to have great memories. Thanksgiving, and a little bit of Christmas, is what we celebrated this year.
When we are in the USA, Bean and I spend Thanksgiving with our entire famiy. That is, all of the family members that are able to join us wherever we happen to be holding the feast. We have been to Georgia, Minnesota, Louisiana and more. This year, faced with spending Thanksgiving in China, I wondered if we should even attempt to remember the day.
Fortunately for us, we have several American acquaintances who were eager to celebrate the day together. I was all for it! The only question in my mind was, “How will the food taste?” In my family, we eat the same meal every year. If it isn’t just right, run and hide because NO ONE will ever let you forget.
The day arrived and we were about 20 hungry people looking for food, fun and a feeling of home. We met far out in Bao’an. The best thing about the day was that everyone did their best to make the day memorable by bringing their favorite dishes. We spent a great deal of time searching for the right ingredients in stores throughout Shenzhen. It all came together beautifully, right down to the after dinner board game tournament.
After such an enjoyable time spent with other foreigners, we all decided that we would get together for a Christmas brunch. Throughout my life, I have enjoyed spending time with others over a breakfast meal. Normally, there is something even the pickiest of eaters can find pleasing. Right before the event, Bean and I hurried to the host’s house so that we could help make decorations. You can’t really celebrate Christmas without decorations. Just like in other parts of the world, Christmas is becoming more popular in China. We found everything we needed to make our brunch simple and festive.
The menu was simple. Toast, eggs, bacon and hashbrowns were the staples. The hashbrowns turned out to be the number one favorite food! We blasted Christmas cheer throughout the apartment and enjoyed time with friends. But we couldn’t linger all day, we had more Christmas activities on the calendar.
We discovered a Do-It-Yourself Bakery School not far from the house. We signed up to decorate Christmas cakes. I thought it would be the perfect activity for Bean and I. We haven’t baked anything in ages!
When we got there, the organizer had us put on our aprons and find our stations. He gave us the option of decorating with fruit or without fruit. I chose with fruit, which happened to be a mango. I can’t believe that I had to come all the way to China to learn how to cut a mango!
We learned, or were given a refresher, on making the icing, assembling a cake and icing the cake. When it came time to decorate the cake, I asked myself, “Why did I want to do this?” I had no clue how to decorate my cake. My mind went totally blank. I can ice a cake, but I am not creative enough to decorate one. Bean decided to use every color of icing that was on the table. Instead of having a Christmas cake, she had a Color Run cake. Whatever works! She was happy.
For the actually Christmas holiday, we did what we always do, got out of town. We spent Christmas at the Chimalong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China. We hung out with pandas, tigers, giraffes and elephants. It was a blast!
We hope that you and yours had a safe and happy holiday season. All the best for the coming New Year!!