Saturday, November 30, 2013

A contract, some turkey, and gratitude


For me, hands down, the months of November and December are the hardest times of the year to be an expat.

During these two months, homesickness washes over me and I find myself wondering: what am I doing here? Why aren't I at home with my family and friends? Why do I live abroad??

And to be frank, Taiwan does not make the situation any easier to deal with. Around the time my friends back in America start posting their holiday plans and write things like "drinking hot coco and snuggling under a blanket to kick off the holiday weekend," I find it hard to not get down on Taiwan.

Because for me, the bipolar weather (90 and bloody hot one day, 40 and bloody freezing the next) and daily grind with no holiday weekend in sight for months feels terrible. It's life as usual, working the salt mines from 8-4.

To combat those frustrating, homesick moments, I came up with the perfect solution: throwing an absurd Thanksgiving potluck after school and cramming 35 people into my apartment.

The end result?

Pretty darn awesome.

At 6pm on Thanksgiving night, after we had all worked a long day, all of our friends piled into our apartment and brought every dish one could hope for on Thanksgiving: mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, homemade bread, salad, mushrooms, pumpkin pie, pecan tarts, and so much more.

We feasted and relaxed and for a few hours, home did not feel so far away. I wish I would have remembered to take pictures of what 35 people crammed into our apartment looked like, but I was so busy having fun that I forgot. You will just have to look at this picture of my living room before everyone came and use your imagination. It was probably the most epic Thanksgiving we will ever host.

In other news, just so you don't start to worry that life in Taiwan is not great because it is, I signed a one-year contract to continue teaching 8th grade English and social studies. While it is hard to live abroad and miss out on some aspects of America, life abroad is still our preferred life style and we are excited to say that we don't really see an end in sight. This month, no matter how difficult at times, was filled with many wonderful moments and opportunities, something for which we continue to be extremely grateful.

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