Two Thanksgiving Dinners, Millions of Thanks

This Thanksgiving, I was so lucky that I received two kind invitation from two lovely American families: The O'Neils' and The Zampa's. O'Neils is my hostfamily since a year ago, which you all should be quite familiar with already. My kind classmate and teammate Eileen, the hostess of the Zampa family again invited all international students and me over for the home-made turkey, sweet potato, pumpkin pies and wines. "Wendy, you HAVE TO COME meet my family this time! They've heard about you for so many times and they're so looking forward to meeting you in person," Eileen insisted. As a result, I moved the meeting with O'Neils to Wednesday evening, and showed up at Zampa's at the Thanksgiving night.
From Last quarter life in Northwestern U
Joan, Stacey, the Golden Retriever "Candle" and Joan's sister Diane from Wisconsin came picked me up Wednesday evening. Surprisingly Pat and Alexie were as well at home, and sure should Star be home- WOW! EVERYONE WAS HOME! Joan and Stacey started to prepare the German meal for us shortly, while I enjoyed the conversation with Pat and Diane, with smooth white wine and Swiss cheese at hand. We covered my struggle to find a position after graduation, the current Thailand and India crisis, the recession, and things about Northwestern. Diane gave me some useful suggestions about getting an internship role in an organization, Pat and Joan kept encouraging me to look on the bright side of life. As for Star and Candle? They cuddled, played around, sometimes asked for some pats and kept really nice and gentle to guests. :) After we had some ice cream and great Chinese flower tea together, I got the chance, nicely requested by Joan, to play the piano for them. One of the songs I played was the one Mom just fell in love with this summer. "That was beautiful. No wonder your mom would love it. I could imagine the time when you were playing the piano while she was standing aside, singing," Joan said.

When we stepped out of their house later that night, I was stunned by the clear sky with thousands of stars, shining. I guessed that feeling was quite close to the word- heaven.

Luckily, the warmth kept me company for long until the next day. Another kind classmate, Ann, came pick me up for Eileen's Thanksgiving dinner. Joined by Victor, Isaih, Myriam and Nishant, we got a packed car with full celebration mood. We arrived at Zampa's shortly and joined all other happy faces first with some wine and later with traditional Thanksgiving dishes. We had some "IMC talks" on the dinner table, when those "alient concepts" made Victor, Eileen's mom-in-law and dad-in-law "surprised" in a way. Second Life? Blogging? LinkedIn? Online dating? Facebook? um..... WHAT?

Without doubt, we also had some chances talking about the funny international learnings we had in the program: Eileen's Shanghai trip, Michelle's Indian trip, Myriam's shocks about her time in the U.S., and my Asian experiences. We laughed SO LOUD sometimes, and those moments, if I had to describe, were AWESOME!

Thanks to Nishant's request, I played some piano again :) For the first few songs, I guessed I did not warm-up enough yet so I made silly mistakes easily. I was especially horrible when I was asked to sing a song in Chinese while playing. Jeez, I should have not picked that song :P Anyways, there were about 15 people in the room listening to "A Whole New World," "Amazing Grace," "Moon River," "I Expect," and THAT was a record!

Our evening ended around 11 after several rounds of "Apples and Apples" game. Outside, millions of shining stars awaited!

"Thanks for coming!" Eileen gave me a very warm hug before I left. The pleasure belonged to me, seriously. Thank you all, Eileen, David, Matthew, Thomas and James! I would not have such wonderful Thanksgiving memories if there weren't you :D

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