Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Distant relatives versus nearby friends on Thanksgiving - AnnArbor.com

My parents say that there is a Chinese saying (there is always a Chinese saying) about how distant relatives are not as good as nearby friends. To illustrate, they recall the time our car broke down on the winding and treacherous Pacheco Pass after midnight and how our neighbor, Mr. Shigematsu, came to rescue us and did not get home until after 2 am. Our relatives in distant Los Angeles or San Francisco could not have done anything to help because they were too far away.

Thanksgiving is a time of feasting and family, and people are traveling, cooking, and cleaning like mad, trying to get to their families for four brief days. Because many of my children’s friends are from international families and do not have extended family close by, I like to gather up all our friends and celebrate “Thanksgiving Eve” the night before with a big potluck of what turns out to be the most amazing spread of foods from around the world—teriyaki turkey, sticky rice stuffing, butternut squash Thai curry, chicken biriyani, babaganoush, tabbouli, lasagna, shrimp and broccoli, mangoes and black sticky rice, Thai pumpkin custard, and more.

So although everyone typically writes and thinks about family this time of year, I have been thinking about friends and connection—meeting someone with whom you click, who understands your humor, who appreciates your meager talents and suspect beauty, who sees you and accepts you, who challenges you to become more yourself. It is always such a relief to finally find someone who gets you, such a loss when they slip away. (click on link for more)

Distant relatives versus nearby friends on Thanksgiving - AnnArbor.com

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