Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Through Different Eyes...and Ears

What are you thankful for?  Are you thankful that you made it through the holiday without a major meltdown or major family blowup?  Thankful that it is over?  Thankful for all the many blessings you have in your life?  Thankful that you remembered to take the giblets out of the turkey before you cooked it this year?  Thankful for the days off?  Thankful, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?   I am thankful that you are reading this!

Just imagine spending Chinese New Year in China with a Chinese family who spoke no English. This Thanksgiving we had the opportunity to see our holiday through a different pair of eyes and ears.  Our daughter ,Kelly, volunteered to host an international student for Thanksgiving.  She figured we would be fine with the idea and she even wondered if anyone would be assigned to her since part of the deal was that the student would have to find their own way to Houston from St. Louis.  Never fear....the chance to spend a holiday in a new city with a typical(?) American family and avoid being left behind on a deserted campus for 4 days can be very motivating!  We hosted a very nice Chinese student named Han for Thanksgiving.
He is young....17, and a freshman in college.  His English was infinitely better than our non-existent Chinese!  He was very quiet and shy for the most part but we had a major breakthrough on his last night when he opened up at dinner!  His whole face lit up when he told us about his high school and his likes and dislikes after spending all of 3 months in the U.S. and he told us about his extended family and their family get togethers.  I admire his courage to come to a new country and attend university in a foreign language....and make very good grades from what he shared with us!  Wow!

Han with Kelly and Katie at the Museum of Natural History

We had a busy time and much of my energy, when I wasn't cooking or cleaning, was spent trying to figure out what a 17 year old Chinese boy would find interesting in Houston.  It is not like I have Niagara Falls to drive him to and show him!  He did like the shopping at the Galleria, go figure, and he enjoyed the  3D IMAX show about the Hubble telescope.  We all enjoyed it and I have concluded that there is no way, ever, in a million trillion light years that I would ever want to go into space.  EVER! 

I don't think we scarred him too much and I even think he enjoyed his time with us.  He shared meals with a minimum of 5 of us every night and a few times there were 12 at the table.  That can be a bit intimidating.  He did luck out though, he was surrounded by beautiful girls at all meals, between Katie and Kelly and my sister's 3 daughters, Han has some good stories to share with his Chinese friends.  I'll bet none of them got to got to Brennans for dinner and be waited on by a swarm of waiters and tour the kitchen!  Now that is an education!

   our waiters making creme brulee and
bananas foster at our table

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