Near Yellow Mountain

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving and the weekend

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 

My last Thanksgiving in the US was in 1999. Thanksgiving, to me, is the quintessential American holiday – more so than the 4th of July. Christmas and Easter are global; the 4th just doesn’t have as much holiday tradition nor is it anchored to one day of the week like “Turkey Day”. In my mind, Thanksgiving weekend demonstrates some of the best (and maybe some of the dark side) of American life. 

What does this have to do with repatriation? Moving back to the US the week of Thanksgiving gave me a good opportunity to see how I related to this special American holiday. I was happily surprised – the holiday seemed totally normal even though I had missed a decade plus. 

Since we are living in a hotel until our shipment from China arrives, it was nice to be able to spend the holidays with relatives living nearby. Our daughters flew to NC from their respective colleges on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

We started Thanksgiving by running an 8 kilometer Turkey Trot, and then had the traditional Thanksgiving meal. All the carbs combined with lingering jet lag and I was sleeping by 7PM. That was probably a good thing as I did something I have never done – get up at 3:30am on Friday to go with everyone to the “Black Friday” sales. I doubt I will do it again but standing in line for Target’s 4am opening, Best Buy’s 5am opening and Macy’s 6am opening was interesting. Not being much of a shopper, I focused on people – why they were there. Quite a cross section – the classic bargain hunters, the curious, and kid’s just wanting something to do – late for them rather than early as it was for me. 

Two things struck me – the increasing diversity in NC since we left and the change in technology – more than half the people in line were checking bargains on their phones, texting, etc. Around me, I heard Spanish but also Chinese and other languages which would have been much less likely in 1999. 

The options in electronics are mind boggling vs. 1999. I felt a little like a technological Rip Van Winkle. We were not Luddites in Asia but we lived in places where the flat screens and satellites were provided for us. We did not have to buy them or set then up. Now as we are getting ready to furnish a house, we have to learn a new language as it relates to plasma, pixels, etc.

We returned to Charlotte from Cary Friday afternoon and went to our favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner. After sashimi and sushi, we went to a local supermarket in search of pumpkin pie. Maybe this repatriation thing won’t be so hard after all.