Its that time of year again to be reminded to cultivate thankfulness. The other day my daughter asked me what "mashed potatoes were" after I explained what Americans usually do and eat on Thanksgiving. When I explained how to make them she said, "yuck, gross!" and I laughed. Of course Taiwan has potatoes and I occasionally buy them to make baked potatoes or hash browns, but she prefers sweet potatoes. In her English class she made turkey hand print arts and crafts and learned about 'pilgrims and Indians.' The other night on the scooter she asked me "why did the English people leave England and come to America?"
Really I love Thanksgiving, the food, the fellowship, the 4 day weekend. But my conscious does bother me that I am somehow perpetuating the myth of a first Thanksgiving feast where the Indigenous and White colonists were passing and puffing the pipe of peace. There is this image of one big pot-luck of everyone bringing something to the table, but really if the Native Americans were teaching the colonists how to survive, I doubt the colonists contributed anything to the meal. It really is one big feel good holiday to subdue, contain and mask White guilt for the theft and geneocide of North America (in my humble opinion.) While I am channeling Lisa Simpson, please do not get too annoyed at my bursting the bubble on such a wonderful, family holiday.
I am all for teaching my child and students that cultivating thankfulness is akin to cultivating the presence of God. That gratitude is a lifestyle and not just the name of a holiday. That being thankful for what I have keeps me out of any depressive self pity, coveting for more than I need, and that I actually get a lot help from friends.
Yet is is good to have a holiday and time of year to remind me that gratitude is worth celebrating. If only White America would come to terms with history, take responsibility I think the ripple effects of healing would be worldwide.
Thanks for my Taiwan adventure, thanks for employment, for my daughter and our health, for health care and living in a country where I do not have to worry about affordable access to medicine, dentists, care. For mild 70 degree Fahrenheit winters, tropical fruit and sea food. Thanks for my daughter's fluent Mandarin and my chance to learn it. For friends that help me when I need them most, for friends far away where we easily pick up where we left off. Thanks for Skype and seeing my parents every weekend. Thanks for a long lunch and a gym just around the corner. I am thankful to live in Tainan near the beach. Thanks for a simple life, for not owning too much. Thanks for Grace that covers me so that I never lack.
- Kathy (杜 言 艷)
- Yilan, Taiwan
- I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.