As a card-carrying citizen of the United States of America (no joke, we must carry cards), the last Thursday of the month of November is required by law to be celebrated as Thanksgiving. This entails cooking an enormous bird and serving it with mounds of food to anyone who crosses the threshold. This national holiday is quickly followed by a second national holiday previously known as Recovery Friday (as in recover from gorging on food the day before). However, nature abhors a vacuum (except in space) and so Recovery Friday was transformed by the shopping malls of America into Black Friday – a venerated day of shopping that often starts in wee hours of the morning. None of which has much to do with my topic. Where was I?
Giving thanks is something many Americans like to do around the time of Thanksgiving. Some even make it a family ritual by asking people around the dining table to share what they are thankful for. In this spirit of thankfulness, I impart these words for which I thank you for reading since we are not presently seated together around a food-laden table.
Living in Beijing, I am deeply thankful for missing that other November tradition in the USA, Election Day. Even better, I missed the entire election season (which lasts for months, and even years sometimes). No annoying phone calls, no one knocking on the door asking for my vote, and no worthless candidate ads on TV and radio. It was gloriously quiet. Say what you will about a single party form of government, at least we don’t have to suffer the indignity of listening to political advertising.
I’m thankful that, despite it being almost the end of November, I haven’t been assaulted by Christmas decorations, the same worn out collection of holiday music, and themed ads for shopping. No doubt I will ignore Black Friday as I did Singles Day here in China. I know the decorations are coming, but at least it will largely be just for December. Ahem, and into Chinese New Year. Except for those businesses that forget to take down the decorations. What’s up with that?
Still, this year, I’m most thankful for the great community of friends that my family and I have become acquainted with while living here in Beijing. Whether foreign or domestic, young or old, English speaking or otherwise, you are the people who make living in Beijing worthwhile and I’m grateful for your friendship.
Now, which of you borrowed my power drill and forgot to return it? Aw heck, who cares? Tomorrow is Black Friday! Let’s go shopping so I can buy a new one.
Photo: Ed Schipul (flickr)