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Turkey? Check. Stuffing? Check. Snow? Check. Snow for Thanksgiving? Yes, that’s what greeted the foreign faculty of Sias International University that cold Thursday morning in Xinzheng. The light fluffy flakes started out about the size of a fen, oops, make that dime, and grew to the size of a quarter in about an hour. It wasn’t enough to stick to the ground, but it was enough to add to the holiday feeling. Thanksgiving at Sias is pretty much like Thanksgiving in the United States. There’s the touch football game in the morning, followed by a massive meal with too much food in the afternoon, followed by time curled up on the couch with friends watching television and waiting for your stomach to settle and make room for leftovers. Sias is blessed with the top restaurant in Xinzheng City in the Henan Province. Foreign chef Brad Coleman along with local Chef Bob prepared a feast fit for a king. There was dish after dish of mouthwatering goodness: mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted potatoes, stuffing, glazed carrots, green beans, roast pumpkins, sweet potato casserole and macaroni and cheese, and that was just for starters. There was also turkey and roast beef, sliced to order. If that wasn’t enough, there was a salad bar and dessert bar, covered in apple pie, pumpkin pie and banana pudding. You’d almost think you were celebrating in the states except for the homemade noodles and hot and sour soup. The International and Exchange Department of Sias, headed by Frank Wang, does its best to make foreign teachers feel right at home, no matter what time of the year. “If I say ‘Thanks’ once, I have to say it 500 times,” Wang said at the luncheon. “Thank you all for a wonderful job.” We interrupt this holiday message for an urgent message…. On the sloppy and cold stadium turf, the Mashed Potatoes and the Stuffing fought to a draw, while the Pumpkin Pie added some well-placed lumps to the Gravy. “I’d like to thank my teammates for all their help in today’s win,” Pie quarterback Flay Keycrust said. “It was a total team effort.” In the second match up, the Mashed Potatoes made short work of the Pumpkin Pie, and the Gravy and Stuffing finished in a knot. “We took our lumps in the first game,” Potato linebacker Red Spud said. “We just gave it 110 percent and left everything on the field in the second game and it all came together just like the Xs and Os that coach drew at halftime.” While there was no clear-cut winner of Turkey Bowl ’06, the players were pleased with their efforts and vowed to play again another day. Now back to our regularly scheduled message. The Thanksgiving dinner at Sias was much like what you’d have found at the very first Thanksgiving dinner a long time ago. There were the new teachers huddled around tables, thankful to have “survived” their first few months in a new world. There were the locals sitting among the new arrivals, sharing stories of their time together. Everyone was thankful for everyone and everything. It was either just a natural part of the holiday spirit or the tryptophan in the turkey. Either way, everyone was feeling good. After an amazing feast, a group of people met in the conference room for a “Friends” marathon. Watching the six-pack change over the years was entertaining, but the afternoon was more about spending time with friends than watching “Friends.” It may not have been the traditional way that any one specific person celebrates Thanksgiving, but it was better. It was the faculties first Thanksgiving together at SIAS. It was their first Turkey Bowl. It was their first “Friends” marathon. It was their day together, and that’s the best kind of day. By Kim Orendor English Website correspondent
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