This was my fifth Christmas spent out of the United States, and my second in a country that does not celebrate Christmas. Supposedly. It turns out that the Chinese love Christmas! On Christmas day, I went out in Xi’an for an amazing dumpling feast. The town was pulsating with energy. People, including cops, were everywhere. According to my guide, they were out for Christmas. The cities all have a heightened police presence on this day because Christmas is a big, big deal in China. As are Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and most surprisingly of all, Thanksgiving. Young Chinese start learning English from a very young age and with the language education, they learn about the culture. They’ve seized upon our culture and embraced it as their own with a surprising passion. Continue reading →
Ok, yes, it’s cliché to write about what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving. Several-years-ago-me would have rolled my eyes at the thought, just as I rolled my eyes at all things holiday related because of the commercialism and forced nature of it. I still despise the commercial side and don’t decorate or celebrate in any big way (because by the time Christmas rolls around we’ve been subject to decorations and holiday music for two goddamn months already in every store and on every street corner!), but I have adapted slightly and brought a little holiday spirit into my life in my own way.
Adult life goes by fast. I mean, remarkably fast. I look back on events that happened five years ago with certainty that they only happened a few months ago. Sometimes it takes literally months of planning and trial and error to finally get together with a friend for lunch because our schedules are so hectic and rapidly changing. And I still am unconvinced that 40 is just around the corner. So, the way I see it now, it’s nice to have a day on the calendar dedicated to giving your beloved some extra attention, to appreciating your parents, or to reveling in the fact that you are alive on this amazing planet for another year. It doesn’t have to be commercial at all. There doesn’t have to be a big sit-down dinner or a parade or a massive family picnic. It’s about taking a moment. And so, especially because my life satisfaction level is currently around 96%, today I’m taking a moment to write about what I am thankful for in my life. Continue reading →