Being British, I have never ever celebrated Thanksgiving. So when I got a message from a fellow British expat here in China, asking a group of us if we’d like to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday I wasn’t too bothered. I told Mitch but he thought we should go, sure, we’re in China, but why not celebrate other cultures and festivals.
On reflection, I don’t know why I hesitated as I LOVE food, and thanksgiving involves a lot of eating.
The whole thing got me thinking about cultures and celebrations in different countries. Mitch always says that living in Oman he learnt more about Irish culture than Arabic culture. This may seem like a funny thing to say, but he lived and worked with a big Irish community who were fellow teachers with him. He learnt a lot about Irish history, culture and traditions.
I’ve met many other teachers here from all over the globe: America, Spain, France, Canada, South Africa, Russia, and it’s wonderful learning about other places. Why not celebrate in their cultures and learn what’s important for them while we’re away from home?
However, it’s important not to overlook the new and totally different culture on my doorstep. China. I love spending my weekends catching up with my fellow teachers but I equally love going out with my new Chinese friends, helping each other to learn the new language, being introduced to new foods, fun, and culture. I love talking to the other Chinese teachers at lunch and exchanging the differences between our food, our teaching systems, and explaining odd English language things such as the bad luck related to ‘Friday 13th.’
Wherever you are in the world, celebrate in other’s cultures and celebrations, even if its American culture in China or Irish culture in Oman. Learn while your travel and have a great time. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.