Last year was a year of firsts. Everything in China was brand new and each experience was something exciting, a new adventure. This year there is still a lot of “new” to look forward to but some things have already been done and probably do not merit a second go-round. Thanksgiving with Chinese friends in Xingyi was one such event. Last year, Emma and I decided to forego the PCV Thanksgiving and chose instead to stay in Xingyi and make dinner for some of our Chinese friends. We had a wonderful time but all the work we put into the dinner was not something I wanted to repeat this year. Emma decided a while ago to go to the Neijiang Thanksgiving for Sichuan and Chongqing volunteers. This left me with three options for how to celebrate. I could stay in Xingyi by my lonesome, go with Emma to Neijiang, or go to Guiyang where the rest of the Guizhou volunteers would be gathering for the holiday. I chose the last option and after a missed train (first one I’ve missed in China) I was on a bus to Guiyang. While on the bus I reflected that I have taken somewhere around twenty-seven different train rides since coming to China with the average train ride being probably around ten hours in length. When I arrived in Guiyang, I met Claire Donze in the Guiyang downtown where we had dinner together and caught up on current affairs.
I spent the weekend at Adam and Laurie’s house, which is large and comfortable, and together we baked pies and drank a little wine the night before thanksgiving. The next day, we got up early and started cutting up the chickens (there are few turkeys in china) as other volunteers began to pour in. Dinner was set for three o’clock but the cheap Chinese wine was served much earlier than that. Consequently, by the time dinner rolled around I was feeling mighty fine and more than a little thankful for all my friends here in China. We had a massive dinner and my pies were a big hit. After eating I had to lie down for a few minutes to digest all that wonderful food. My reprieve, however, was short-lived as everyone began to gather together to go play football in the park.
We walked over to an open area near Adam and Laurie’s house and started a game of touch football. We soon had a little crowd of Chinese students watching us while the volunteers who did not want to play cheered us on from the sidelines. Even though my team got spanked twice, I had a smile on my face the whole time. After the game, we went back to the house and just hung out chatting before closing out the evening with some charades. The next morning I caught an early train back to Xingyi which greeted me with one last day of beautiful summer weather before taking the long, dark turn towards winter.