Let me be the first to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  This was our first major holiday away for our family and even though we missed our family and would have liked to be with them, we had a good day all the same.  The day kind of crept up on all of the American teachers here at LIT.  It was kind of like someone looked at the calendar on Monday and said, "oh my gosh, Thanksgiving is this Thursday"  When the rest of the nation isn't preparing for the great American food fest, it is a little hard to get into.

Today was a work day like any other.  We had our classes to teach.  My lesson this week was on Thanksgiving and the traditions associated with it.  I had my students take a moment and reflect on the past year and their lives and then write down 10 things they were thankful for.  The exercise really put everyone in a good mood then I had a word game for them to play.  Today in my classes after playing the game I announced, "I have something that you can be thankful for.......teachers that dismiss class early."  At this the students would all let out a collective cheer.

After my 10:00 class I came back to the guest house and began preparing my contribution to the 1st Thanksgiving meal we had.....mashed potatoes and gravy.  Katie made banana bread and Phillip made stewed apples.  Turkey isn't available here (no big deal to any of us) so we just prepared our favorites and pigged out on them.  You should have seen the mountain of mashed potatoes I made and boy were they ever good.

This evening the Foreign Affairs Office took all the foreign teachers out for a banquet at one of the fancy restaurants down town.  There we all had a Chinese Thanksgiving Dinner, complete with Chinese turkey aka Peking Duck.  I had gotten the girls out of school early and brought them home to get ready for the evening.  I put dresses on them and poophed their hair, shoot I even put on make-up for the evening.  On the way to the restaurant, Julie and Charlie kept talking about the wedding we were going to (most weddings here in China take place in restaurants where there is room to feed the masses that attend them)  I explained we were just going to Thanksgiving dinner.  Then they wondered if they would be getting presents (I think they have their holidays a little confused)  We all really had a nice time and ate too much, but after all isn't that one of the traditions????  The male teachers kept reflecting on another Thanksgiving tradition they were missing.....football games.  That is one thing I don't miss.  The other is the dishes that most of you will be facing after eating!

It's hard to believe we only have 4 more weeks of class.  Here at LIT English classes end earlier than the rest of the classes and our last day of teaching for the semester will be on December 21.  The weeks have just flown by.  Several of us are planning on heading up to Harbin for a week or so to attend to Ice Lantern Festival.  Then most of the teachers are heading south.  The other 3 American teachers and the American student are heading to Kunming (Charlie's home city...a really neat place) and then onto Thailand to soak up some sun on the beaches.  It takes about 3 days to reach Kunming by train and I can't see taking a 3 year old and a 4 year old on that kind of torturous journey (it would be sheer torture for me trying to keep them entertained that long on a train) so we are pretty much going to just stay in Jinzhou for the winter break.  I may take a few days and head down to Beijing to see the sights.  We'll just have to see how well they do in Harbin.