Thursday, November 26, 2009
It isn't easy being a Yank abroad, and trying to raise an American passport-holding child in a foreign land just makes things a little more difficult. It's a struggle at times to expose your offspring to the customs of the "homeland", especially when said child was born "abroad". Today, of course, is Thanksgiving, an occasion which goes by each year virtually unnoticed in Taiwan, outside of the American expatriate community. There are Thanksgiving meals on offer at hotel restaurants, and full-course dinners that can be ordered in advance and eaten at home, but these options aren't cheap, and I don't live on a company subsidized executive expat package (not that I wouldn't mind, if I had the chance!). So when I found out that PJ's Cafe in T'aichung 台中 was offering Thanksgiving dinners for only NT195 ($6 or ¥530), I arranged to take the night off from my regular Thursday evening class, and the three of us made the drive from Fengyuan 豐原 in order to celebrate the holiday.
It may not have looked fancy, but PJ's plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and coleslaw hit the spot. Amber didn't care much for the stuffing or cranberry sauce, but she loved everything else, and she learned how to say "Happy Thanksgiving", which by itself made the whole evening worthwhile:
Living in a small city like Fengyuan leaves me isolated from the larger expat community that exists in Taichung. For Amber's sake, we probably should get out more often and do things like we did tonight.
In the car on the way back to Fengyuan, I started to smell an odor similar to that of skunk. I thought at first that someone had run over a polecat (as often happened back in Sacramento, when the results could be smelled for miles around), but remembering that skunks aren't native to Taiwan, I mentioned the strange smell to my wife. It turned out to be coming from the bag of bamboo, chicken and onions that Pamela had bought from a street stall after dinner. Dinner was over, and it was back to Taiwan!