Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving is always hit and miss in Hong Kong. It's not a Chinese holiday, obviously, and it's not even celebrated by most of the foreigners here. Most people get into Christmas. Even the locals celebrate, more or less. Christmas is more about shopping than anything else, but at least we get some decorations and Christmas songs.

My roommates are Canadian, so their Thanksgiving is on a different day than mine, but they understand the holiday. We try to celebrate, but that's not always easy.

My first Thanksgiving in Hong Kong was very Chinese. I didn't have a problem with the Chinese food, but I missed dessert. Finding pumpkin pie in China is like trying to find Bigfoot while sober.

A few years ago, my roommates and I went to Otto e Mezzo, a fancy, celebrity chef Michelin star Italian restaurant. It was too crowded and too famous, but the food was genuinely Italian, which is hard to find in China. Good food, but no pumpkin pie.

Last year was my most American Thanksgiving since moving to Hong Kong. It was in Tokyo. Tokyo has more than enough great places to eat, but we found a restaurant run by some American expats who were doing a special Thanksgiving meal. I don't ordinarily seek out American food when I go to Japan, but this was a special occasion. The food was good, but the pumpkin pie was disappointing.

This year, we did Thanksgiving in our apartment. For several years, I lived in a tiny apartment without a kitchen. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner wasn't an option. Now, we live in a large apartment, by Hong Kong standards, with something that's even harder to find – a real kitchen.

Most of my friends are not American, but there are enough Canadians, and everyone likes a home cooked meal. There were no football games on TV or any parades with giant Snoopy balloons, but since most of our guests were not American, they never noticed. The food was good. That's the important part. I didn't make any pumpkin pie because I've never seen a real pumpkin around here. We have Chinese pumpkins, which are not bad, but it's not the same.

During the planning stages, Lily wondered if I wanted to invite Mthandeni. Before our first date, I thought that would be strange. After our first date, it made more sense. I don't know if this was our second date, but if it was then our first date was on my birthday and our second date was on Thanksgiving. If we don't wait until Christmas for our third date, it's going to start getting ordinary a lot faster than usual.

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