Saturday, November 28, 2009

Observing Thanksgiving

Since I have no family here in America, I really have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving but to be like a flea and attach to one of my colleagues, my boss, or my friends(only if I can make any friend here in this country). After I had some cold, tough, tasteless turkey in a baking dish, very mushy brussel sprouts, and an extremely boring company in last Thanksgiving at one of my colleagues' parents'-in-laws's house, (looked like "chicken in the pot" in Jerry's Deli, and I was too polite to bring up if that was how a Thanksgiving Turkey supposed to look like since I really had no idea...) I decided that this year I rather spend Thanksgiving alone at home and have cup noodles with spam instead...

Just as I was so sure about my Thanksgiving plan, I got a potluck invite from someone I met in one of my professional seminars. We aren't really friends cause I don't hang out with him too often, we don't confide in each other about our problems either. We exchanged 2 emails and we went to a dinner and a lunch together in the course of 12 months. So in America, how is a relationship like this defined?? I guess I can call us acquaintances??? We are not dating, we aren't friends, we aren't colleagues, not neighbours...

I am glad I accepted his invite cause it was the best Thanksgiving food I had ever had. It was when I learnt what an American Thanksgiving turkey was all about. How I loved that turkey! We had 30 people, each brought something. I made a couple appetizers right at the host's house and I had never felt so proud of myself. My appetizers were a big hit and there was no leftover to be taken home.

I feed myself on instant noodles and restaurant food. So, cooking is definitely not my strength or even something I am interested in doing. However, I have to admit that the moment when I saw someone grabbed my last piece of appetizer was extremely satisfying.

Besides great food, the company was the most interesting I ever had on a Thanksgiving. I didn't know anyone there except the host but I had a lot of fun meeting all these interesting new characters. I even met another girl who's also from Hong Kong, who's in the same profession I am in, and who speaks my native language!! I've also met new "aliens" who had been here for less than six months. One of them was a mail-order bride from the Philipines, she told me she got her greencard by marrying a U.S. citizen and is currently in the process of applying for a student loan from the gov't so she could go to community college... (anyone who's here on a greencard is called "resident alien" and is eligible for all the perks available here.) Another one told me she got a greencard cause she won the greencard lottery in Nigeria and was here just in time to benefit from the "Cash For Clunker" program. She kept praising how America was such a wonderful place where she got assitance in housing, cars, college, medicaid, etc, etc...I thought, "wow, this is a great country for you guys because I am paying taxes to fund all these assistance you enjoy so much... So much for the land of the freeloaders. Is this what equal opportunities are all about, meaning every freeloaders from the third-world or self-proclaimed bums have equal share of my money?"

When they asked me, "So, how did you get your greencard?" I replied ackwardly, "I'm not a mail-order bride and I'm not a lottery winner... I'm in fact a lottery loser who came here on a work visa because my firm wanted me here to provide a service that they couldn't find qualified people here to do...I have been participating in the greencard lottery since the first year I came, but I was never picked cause only 120 out of 55000 greencards from this lottery is allocated to people from Hong Kong, versus 10,800 to Nigeria alone....Obviously, the U.S. gov't doesn't think I should have a greencard...haha, because they obviously prefer to have more Africans from Nigeria." I had been in this country long enough to see that "Freedom and Equality" are not necessary the case in America. Do I have more freedom and equality here in America than in Hong Kong, I can say loudly and confidently, "no, I don't." It's like asking me if those gadgets on late night infomericals are great as they claim to be. ( I bought enough of those to find out.) It's called, "Marketing", folks.

When I was fascinated by the so-called "free-world", and rushed in signing this employment contract to work here in America... my dad warned me, "Kid, there is not such thing as a fair and free world, no one is free in this world and no country is really fair. You are only free to do certain things because you give up some of your freedom to enjoy certain things. Whatever becomes fair to others won't necessarily be fair to you. Because, this is just how nature operates..." Today, I know exactly what my father was talking about.

Besides meeting some newly arrived aliens, I had met no husband material. Most of the guests were single women, if they weren't mail-order brides already. The guys there were all gay or they were unemployed. I was told, "Eligible single men are like parking lots, the good ones are already taken, the ones that are available are for the handicapped only." This Thanksgiving dinner, I realized how true it was.

When I looked at my host who invited me, I was wondering why would such an educated, young and promising professional Asian American man like him, be attracted to a white man who is in his late 50s, short, totally unattractive and who is currently unemployed and has just lost his apartment. How lucky is this ungly, gross looking old man got a young boyfriend and got to move into his nice house!!

According to the logic of, my host and I matched on all levels, we love the same food, we are big fans of Karaoke, we are highly educated, we are in the same profession, we enjoy the same movies, we have the same financial security. We enjoy talking to each other and we like to play mah-jong with each other. But he is attracted to an old ugly gay guy who's broke and who's old enough to be his father. Here I am , an attractive Asian female who is compatible with him at every level, yet I don't fit into his criteria of a life partner, a soul mate, or a lover.

I'm here in America long enough that I know I have no right to judge and measure anyone with my own measuring stick. Throughout the dinner, I observed that everybody there had some stories that really went against my values and standards that I was brought up with. I was amazed by how people got all these problems, but who am I to judge? Afterall, there is nothing abnormal in America. The only one that is abnormal at the dinner party is really myself who still believes in old-fashion love and marriages, who considers her parents her best friends in the world. I am an alien in this country afterall. Normal or not, I had a blast this Thanksgiving. With an open mind and an empty stomach, even a single alien like me can have a lot of fun and a great company to say thanks to.

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