Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Holidays

posted by Alan
(click on the pictures to see them full size)

I guess everyone is in full holiday mode right now back in the US. Being over here, it's easy to forget things like black friday shopping and Thanksgiving morning football. While the 'holiday season' isn't as boisterous as it is back in the States, China (I guess I can only speak for Shanghai) is beginning to take on it's own way of celebrating the seasons.

It felt strange to work on Thanksgiving Day. This made it easy to forget that it was actually Thanksgiving. But the large expat community here in Shanghai goes a long way in helping you feel a little slice of Home while you're overseas. We embrace the Chinese culture and really do cherish the local lifestyle, but Shanghai really is that international of a city where this mix of Western and Eastern lifestyles IS the local culture in this city.

Daisy and the Feast; "Happy T-Dry"

Thanksgiving Dinner for us was hosted by our friend Jeff(california). Turkey is pretty non-existent out here, but a few hotels ship them in and for a substantial price, a full Thanksgiving meal can be ordered. This, along with the pot luck dishes that everyone brought (Daisy did Mac and Cheese) made up a ThanksG dinner that rivals most at home. Although my family ThanksG dinners are pretty hard to top. We topped the night off with a few rounds of MAFIA. Thanks Jeff, Matt and our friends here for helping us feel closer to home. The only thing that killed the feeling was knowing we had to work the next day. We had another ThanksG dinner on Saturday night, but this time we skipped the turkey and just had three different kinds of chicken.

Helen(Sao Paolo, Brazil) and Daisy tearing apart the turkey

The city has really taken on the Christmas spirit since then. Christmas lights and decorations can be seen everywhere you go in Shanghai. Almost all of the hotels have Christmas music playing and fake trees are all over the place. It's very exciting to see China open it's doors to the world in this way. Part of me would like to be here for Christmas to celebrate with my company and local friends and get to share with them the joy of what Christmas is all about. This week I took a clothing donation at my company for some of the needy people here in Shanghai and the response so far has been awesome. I have to empty the donation box every day after work because it's always full! A few of my coworkers have asked me about what we're doing and why and some have even expressed a desire to come along. As great as it would be to be here with them during this time, I can't deny that Daisy and I are both definitely looking forward to coming back to New York to spend Christmas at home.

Decorations in my office; street decor in Shanghai

We'll be getting in on December 18th and will come back to Shanghai on January 8th. We don't have cell phones yet, but we're always reachable by email:
We definitely would love to see as many of you as possible while we're home, so get in touch!

Response to comments:
The answers to last post:
1. FAKE - almost any DVD you find here will be fake.
2. REAL - real Kellogs Frosted Flakes. Why they changed the name? I have no idea.
3. REAL - Coca Cola is EVERYWHERE. I saw Coke ads on some of the most desolate roads in Africa. Amazing.
4. REAL - Oreos also available with chocolate, strawberry and mint green frosting. None are as good as the original.
5. FAKE - it's a safe assumption that anything Crocs here is also fake.
6. REAL - As much as North Face is faked here, this is a real one. I only know because I bought it in the US. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to tell.
Glennis - I should've put a disclaimer that anyone who has lived in China before is not eligible to participate. And yes, your pinyin is correct, but I had to adjust it for American pronunciation's sake.
Libby - If you come visit, I think I should hold your wallet. Like a designated driver.
Corey - We'll see if you're able to figure out what shoes I wear when I'm back are real or fake.
Brendon - You got em all right except for the Coke. Thought too hard about it. I wear everything around in the States. I'll keep you guys guessing.