Sunday, December 30, 2007


My third Christmas away from home. It was certainly more fun than last year, when all I did was eat with some friends. There are enough foreign teachers here that we can have family-like dinners together that do a good job of imitating a real Christmas. Of course, I would have rather been at home for the holidays, but given that that wasn't possible, I'd say I had a pretty nice time. On the 24th we had dinner at Kat and Ramon's, the Australian couple that runs the Aussie hospitality program here. We had roast lamb, roast goat, roast chicken, and many other delicious home-cooked Western food. I brought Skyline dip and it was a big hit, as usual, especially since no one had ever had anything like it before. There was also an Australian Pavlova for desert which was pretty god - not like anything I'd ever had before.

After dinner, we opened presents. Everyone seemed to really like the thinks I picked out for them at one of the souveniry streets downtown. Afterwards, as the evening was winding down, we were treated to a guitar duet: Ken, the Japanese teacher, and Chris, Stacy's younger brother visiting form Australia for a month. A good night, warm and friendly.

The morning of the 25th I got up earlyish to call home where it was still Christmas Eve. It was wonderful to talk to everyone, but I would have rather been there myself. I had to cut short my conversation with my brother to melt chocolate to put on the buckeyes I hadn't finished making for Christmas lunch. Again things were potluck-style, showcasing the creative cooking skills of expats. A ham, apricot chicken, lasagna, salads, glazed carrots, and many other non-Chinese treats made for a great lunch with pumpkin pie for desert. Fantastic, as far as being away goes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thanksgiving in December

Yesterday we had our second Thanksgiving dinner, and even though it was on a Saturday, I think it topped the first one. Instead of going to a restaurant, we ate downstairs in the meeting room. Everyone brought a dish (appetizer, side, or dessert) and Bob, a teacher in the British program, ordered a turkey from the restaurant we went to on the real Thanksgiving. The bird was delicious—juicy, and best of all there was dark meat. The other dishes were fantastic too. We had salads, pumpkin, cheesy cauliflower, roasted as well as mashed potatoes, and probably a few more I've forgotten. Oh, eggnog too. Then Don's fantastic crustless pumpkin pie—not as good as my mom's, but close. And my contribution: buckeyes. Everyone loved them, but I don't think they compared to Grams's. I need to get the recipe from her so I can make them for Christmas.