shanghai postcard #25: A holiday-shaped hole

Early faux Thanksgiving, cooked by my Dad by special request, October 2010

Early faux Thanksgiving, cooked by my Dad by special request, October 2010

There is a funny thing about the way in which American holidays fail to materialize when you live abroad.

It's not that you can't get the props. I passed a frozen turkey at the Japanese International grocery store less than an hour ago. 

It's not that there aren't other Americans to celebrate with.

The thing that's missing is family and old friends, and you're surrounded by 22 million people who aren't feeling what you're feeling.

For me, Thanksgiving in particular is tough, because it's holiday I associate so closely with family. 

Thanksgiving is my Dad in the kitchen starting at 7 a.m., a mammoth meal around 3 p.m., followed by a movie, usually Blade Runner. This is the script. It's what we do. In the absence of what makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving, Shanghai suddenly feels less than homey.

On the plus side, this is the first apartment in five years where we've actually had an oven, and I'm roasting a chicken. It's not quite a turkey, but I don't feel like a turkey for buying it - "fire chicken" as the Chinese call it, is mighty pricey over here.

Also, it's my Thursday night, so I will wake up in the morning to find my various social media feeds lit up with your adventures and celebrations.

In addition, since nobody gets Thursday off, the Americans turn it into a holiday weekend and parties abound. This year I'm hoping to get recipes from my hosts and hostesses to start some new Shanghai traditions.

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday!