Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We have had our first snow here in Dongducheon, and it was beautiful. Every snow gets me excited for Christmas, but first I have to deal with Thanksgiving...

Now, first, I need to get one thing straight: Thanksgiving is an American holiday. This should make sense once you stop to think about it, but you might be surprised at how often this question is asked. Thanksgiving is as American as Black Friday shopping and the 4th of July.

What this means for me this year is that I have to teach on Thanksgiving. This isn't all bad, as it will give me a chance to tell the kids about the holiday. I figure there are two very different ways I could go about teaching Thanksgiving traditions: first, I could go with the typical grade school style story and tell them that Christopher Columbus was a savior who discovered America. Then, years later, the grateful Native Americans helped the nearly starved Pilgrims through a difficult winter by providing them with food. However, I could also go with the more interesting post-colonial take on Thanksgiving. I could tell the kids that Christopher Columbus was a pretty big jerk who brought the Native Americans smallpox, alcohol, and some story about how he had discovered the place which they had been inhabiting for centuries. This would be a more difficult story to get across with their limited English, but I do feel it is the more accurate tale.

Neither of these options answer the questions that my boss and the kids really want to know: Why do you eat turkey? (Um, it tastes good? Maybe because the Pilgrims could hunt it? Benjamin Franklin couldn't make it the national bird so we decided to consume it in mass quantities?) What's with caramel apples? (They taste good? Seriously, I have no other answers here. I might make up a fable about the naughty apple who fell to her sticky death, much to the joy of nearby human onlookers.) What's with pumpkin pie? (Again, it tastes good. However, the kids were able to try some pumpkin pie last year and they thought it was horrible. I can't get past that. I think they must not have smeared enough whipped cream on it.)

Tomorrow is the big day and I'll let you know how the teaching moment turns out. I'm also going to google caramel apples to see if I can find anything on their history.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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