Today is a special day in Northern North America, Canadian Thanksgiving.  While it is (not surprisingly) less of a big deal for us than it will be in about six weeks for our neighbours to the south, it is still an important day on the calendar.  While I won’t be heading to mom’s for a big feast, it doesn’t mean that I’m not thankful for several things.  And since this is a blog centred around life in China, I thought that I would take a minute or two to make a list of things that I would like to thank China for.  I would love to here what any of you out there in Comment Land have to add to this list.

So in no particular order, I would like to give Chin a big thanks for….

  • …giving me career stability. The economy back in the West is suffering, and the job market is difficult for teachers in my home province of Ontario.  Luckily I don’t have that problem over here.
  • …paying me comfortably. As an aside to the first one, I am very thankful that I can live a comfortable (if occasionally decadent) lifestyle here.
  • …the many friends that I have made over here. I’ve been very lucky to have made several great friends here in the Middle Kingdom.  Granted they have mostly been expats, which is something that I want to work on.  But there are (usually) a certain set of personality traits that are common in the kind of people who will move far, far away from home that makes for fast friendships.
  • opportunity to learn a new language.   My Chinese is terrible, not going to lie (and far worse than Ericka’s!!).  But I am very thankful for a chance to have Chinese studying as something to put off on a weekly basis.
  • …being patient with my language skills. I am routinely amazed at just how patient the Chinese are with my butchering of their language, as I have received a ton of positive feedback and impromptu lessons from the most unlikely of sources.  This is the sort of thing that we in the West could learn a lot from.
  • …the 60th Anniversary Celebration. Sure I couldn’t understand most of it (see above) but it certainly was a sight.  While I may not agree with the blind Nationalism, I can see why many people felt the need to celebrate.  If nothing else it is a strange addition to the “Stories for the Grand Kids” File
  • …having such good food. I know a lot of Westerners who hate Chinese food, but I can’t get enough of it.  Sure my options are limited as a vegetarian, but there is still a lot of great stuff out there.
  • …giving me chances to travel. I really am lucky to get the chances to see as much of this great country as I do.  I just got back two days ago from a trip to Dali and Xishuangbanna, which is something I don’t think too many of my friends back home can say.
  • …keeping me safe from violence. This is something that I think that we often forget.  China is a very safe country with crime rates that the West would be envious of.
  • YOUKU!!!!! What’s not to love about this site?  Faster than Youtube (even before it was blocked), less copyright enforcement.   As an aside, if any of you find Youku too disorganized and overwhelming, then check out Videostic, which goes to the trouble of organizing the TV Shows on Youku and other video sites for you.
  • …the Great Firewall not being worse. Sure it sucks, but it’s important to remember that it could be worse, a lot worse.  So thanks China for allowing Wikipedia, Google, BBC, Flickr, Digg, and literally millions of other websites.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I’d give you double thanks for a little Twitter.
  • …not blocking Skype. I know I already kind of said it, but double…nay TRIPLE THANKS for allowing Skype.  It really makes it so much easier (and cheaper) to talk to people on the other side of the Pacific.  So thanks for making me a little less homesick.
  • me a platform for my opinions. I guess I should thank Ryan and not China for that one, but I am genuinely grateful and humbled to be able to have a chance to ramble about whatever I want on this site.  While I have certainly received my share of negative feedback on this site, the majority has been positive, so thank you dear blogees for that one.
  • …the advances that you have made in the last twenty years. I can’t even imagine what living in this country would have been like pre-89.  Thank you China for liberalizing and having your economy explode, it has made so much of the other items on this list possible.
  • …for just being you. For all that we in the Sino-English-Language-Blogopshere complains about you China, I know that we all love you.  Sorry we don’t tell you often enough.


  1. Well, perhaps we Canadians aren’t as over-the-top as our southern neighbours, but we do give thanks for the good life we have. At least my family does. But the U.S. Thanksgiving is all Walt-Disney, Hollywood, fanatasy. They all look like they are living the good life, but in reality, they are so far in debt they’ll be paying for years, and years, to come. It’s all an illusion where in Canada we try to keep it real.

    My thanks to China for allowing me to visit and practise my tortured Chinese on an unsuspecting market population. Looking forward to my next trip to Beijing in November.


  2. Thanksgiving is a bit like Easter to me, it’s one of my most forgotten holidays since moving to China. Thanks for the reminder Glen… I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year.

    @Chip: I think it’s like “yer ma” or “that’s what she said” jokes… it’s just become a reflexive reaction for most of the world. 🙂

  3. @Lao Lo Uh, yeah. I’m not particularly sensitive to America bashing. I’m American, and I fully recognize the many flaws of our culture. (Just like any other culture, by the way.) However, my Thanksgivings are simple. Family + Food = happy times. No need to get all general stereotype on our family holidays.

    As for the post, I totally agree! If for nothing else, I’m grateful for China to hiring me when I couldn’t find a job to save my life in America. But I am sad to not be going home, I love Thanksgiving and I miss my debt-ridden Walt Disney, Hollywood family (of illusion).

  4. @Stephen: The Canadian inferiority complex always finds a way to rear its ugly head. One of the guiding rules of all Canadians is that they will use any excuse to differentiate themselves from Americans!!! It’s just one of the flaws in our culture I guess 🙂

    @Lao Lo: I don’t think that our Thanksgiving is *that* different than the American holiday, except theirs is just seen as a bigger deal. More days off, more media attention, national parades, etc. Not all that uncommon between the differences that exist between July 1st and July 4th.

  5. America’s is seen as a bigger deal because AMERICA FREAKING ROCKS! YEAH! GO AMERICA!

    kidding. I’m probably the least patriotic American I know, after Andi perhaps.

    Anyway I had to explain thanksgiving today to a chinese person, which really just turned into an attempt to describe the taste and texture of a well-cooked turkey, which in turn made me miss Thanksgiving, which is otherwise left uncelebrated in my family. But turkey is cool. So yay Thanksgiving, yay North American holidays to celebrate blah blah blah.

  6. A friend of mine, Chinese, took a four hour nap after eating turkey for the first time. I mean, I’ve heard it can make some people sleepy, but THAT was pretty cool.

  7. Actually I always liked Thanksgiving precisely because it lacked the commercial edge of Christmas, July 4th, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc. Just food, football, and far too much to drink.

  8. @Matt: I always liked Canadian Thanksgiving because it is the precursor to Hallowe’en. While American Thanksgiving may be about kickoffs, more than anything else it marks the starting line for the Christmas holiday madness.

    But as a holiday though, I agree, it’s right up there with St. Patrick’s day. You’re really not expected to do much other than drink and eat.

  9. Glen, am I the only one to notice that this post ends with “But I”? With a full stop after it, it might pass as some kind of gnomic dadaist wisdom, but as it is it just looks like a mistake.

    But that isn’t possible, is it? Is it?

    Belated Happy Cdn Thanksgiving to one and all. Careful on the ice: very slippery, and very hard.

  10. Eric, it’s all better now. The internet started eating my words, they must have not gotten enough food at Thanksgiving. Thanks for the heads up.

    However in the future I think that I may have posts end with sentence fragments, it just seems so much more mysterious, doesn’t it?

  11. Very belated comment (maybe because we don’t celebrate “Thanks Giving” in Australia) but I love this post. Thanks Glen for a bit of positivity. You can’t go wrong with gratitude and contentment. I wholeheartedly agree with your list and can add (for me) that it somehow has helped me grow and I think become a better person. Cheers China!

  12. Pingback: Giving Thanks To China: Part II | Lost Laowai China Blog

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲