"We do not have much, but we are thankful for what we have."
I posted last month about how strange it is to celebrate holidays here in Hong Kong. Halloween actually didn't differ too much from the US, but Thanksgiving sure did. What was intended to be a potluck for as many exchange students as could fit in a common room ended up as three men eating in silence.
It's hard to find a turkey in Hong Kong, especially for a reasonable price. I'm not going to pay more for my festive bird than I am for a day at the amusement park or a trip to the outlying islands. So I found myself and my two American compadres scouring the grocery store for any cheap vittles that could make up a meal. We ended up with an ungodly amount of potatoes, some canned corn, dinner rolls, sausage, and pesto pasta. It took forever to make, as we had a single hot plate to use. We ate in a fairly barren common room, listening to music and talking a bit. I'm used to huge meals, with numerous family members. A warm house, a roaring fire, some dogs running around the table. Going around the table and saying what we're thankful for. Instead, I got two great friends and a potato mountain. At the end of the day, I'm totally fine with that. It's just one of the changes that I've experienced. It throws me at first, you know? I'm open-minded, but I'm also set in certain traditions and routines. Now they're starting to crumble around me.
Christmas is coming and I barely feel it. I should be sweating peppermint by now. I should sneeze flocking and cough gingerbread dust. Maybe once December hits, the Yuletide spirit will fill me to bursting. But for now, I'm on the fast-track to bittersweet. Most of my good friends will be going home for Christmas itself. It's going to be a skeleton crew of exchange students, those that are studying for another semester and those that are hanging out in Hong Kong a few days longer than the rest. And you know what, I'm going to make the best of it.
The seasons are changing and I'm changing with them, same as every year. I think it's going to be a good holiday season, but it will also be the strangest I've experienced so far. I think I'm ready for it, but you can never be too sure.