Wednesday, November 21, 2007

14. Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner

Just a quick one I guess. Last night I had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at the International Center (where I enrolled for language courses). They were very nice to have organized a very warming, beautiful and delicious dinner for the students who registered beforehand. I mean, to me, Thanksgiving is just like in the movies: family gatherings, turkey for dinner and probably some fights involved. I've never been able to really understand what it really feels like to have a Thanksgiving dinner with real American tradition(or Canadian tradition, in some cases). I mean, last year I got invited but I couldn't go due to work! That really sucks!! Working situations in Taiwan is definitely non-westernized.

So, back to the dinner. Jimmy and I arrived there around 5PM. But the door won't be opened until 5:30. And we finally got inside, I can't believe they have decorated the cafe area into a fantastic dining banquet, with table cloth, green vines, cranberries, candles decorating the dining tables with beautiful dining ware. It felt almost like being at a wedding! So nice.

We sat down, and started to introduce ourselves. Most of us didn't know each other considering there are hundreds of members and volunteers at International Center. There were two volunteers (a teacher and a language partner), a woman from Myanmar, a Peruvian, a Chinese, a Korean and two Taiwanese(Jimmy and I). Very international enough haha.It was nice sitting next to the Peruvian and she told me many things I didn't learn about Peru. Now I really want to visit South America. We chatted while drinking wine and apple cider, then the organizers read two lovely poems, and after that the dinner was officially announced began. FOOD!

The food served for the event was sponsored by a local high school so they came serving us and taught us the meaning of sharing and good will. I really love the idea. They kids looked very happy bring their home culture to us. I guess that's when I realized of the true meaning of Thanksgiving-- be grateful and willing to share with other in praise of the love of the world. I hope I didn't put it wrong. We had turkey breast with gravy, creamy bread crumbs, macaroni, sweet potatoes, long-stem beans and a bun. It was really delicious and the atmosphere just couldn't be better. To top it off, luscious desserts were served with choices of apple pie, coconut pie and the very traditional pumpkin pie(which I didn't get!) with coffee. I really miss dessert! I mean, since I'm a backpacker here, I don't really go for the luxury of dining out, let along having desserts! This was my lucky night! (and it was all free BTW) As a result, we left with a full stomach and a warmed heart.

All and all, the Thanksgiving dinner really opened my eyes and with some exchange of words with the American folks and other international friends at the table, I felt I was the lucky ones. I mean, just by that evening, I saw like perhaps five blinded people walking on the street and I helped one crossing the street. What I'm trying to say is that we should really cherish what we have in our lucky life and share the joy and love with other while we can. Not many people can do that. And certainly there are tons of things we can do. So I praise to all volunteers and the organizers from the International Center with gratitude and a big "Thank You" on this special occasion. It was a special experience for me.

So, how are you going to spend your Thanksgiving? Feel free to share with me!

Wan An!

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