"IT'LL BE A HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN TONIGHT"
So much has happened in the past few days that Thanksgiving seems like weeks ago. However, to avoid being a respecter of holidays, I'll take some time to recall last Thursday; it was, in all actuality, a day worth recalling. The week itself was crazy busy, and I doubted at times whether I would be able to slow down enough to actually enjoy Thanksgiving, but given some extra time on Wednesday to do all my Thanksgiving cooking (a couple pecan pies, some ginger cookies, and rolls), I found myself on Thanksgiving day with relatively few things to do. Jess, Barry and I, having finished our Isaiah study the week before, began 1 Peter in the morning. After the study, we headed to Trent's school for our traditional game of touch football. We only had seven people this year - all foreigners - our smallest turnout yet, but we were not to be deterred by such small numbers. Trent, Barry, and Luke took on the Fabulous Four - Jessica, Finn, Kyle (from Danjiangkou) and me. It was fairly unevenly matched; when you have so few people, one extra person makes a huge difference. But it was fun, and we kept another personally favorite Thanksgiving tradition of my own - winning.
Dinner came at three o'clock (nearly on the dot). Cooking plans went beautifully. Our boys bought a turkey in Wuhan, and with Trent's sweet guanxi, we were able to fry it in the school's kitchen. It was really good. We had about fourteen people at our Thanksgiving and enough food (particularly desserts) to feed about forty. So, overeating ensued.
Saturday morning Jessica and I took a bus to Wuhan for a second Thanksgiving. It was definitely a smaller production than last year. Fewer foreigners and less food, but the regulars were all there. It was nice to spend time with old friends and meet new ones; worshiping with so many foreigners is always a treat for us too. Anyway, we didn't stay a really long time in Wuhan. We actually bought our return tickets for the following day. Jess and I were both feeling homesick for Shiyan. It seems like we always do a lot of traveling this time of the year, and as much as we like seeing other places, we like being home just as much. So our trip to Wuhan was what we wanted it to be - filled with spending time with our friends there and visiting a few foreign shops (Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Theatre).
Sunday morning before our meeting, I received a text message from Trent that said, "Bad news. You left your radiator on and caught your apt. on fire. It didn't burn much, you were very lucky. This is not a joke, sorry." Precisely because he said, "This is not a joke," and because of the brevity and bluntness of the text, I thought it might be a joke. I just replied, "Okay. Thanks," and went on with the day. Later Jess called Barry, and I took the opportunity to ask him about my apartment. As it turned out, Trent was serious. My space heater had malfunctioned somehow and completely melted (burning a hole in the floor) and caught the curtains on fire. Luckily (or by the hand of God, rather), the curtains barely burned, and the most damage that happened to my apartment came from the smoke. When I arrived Sunday night, my apartment smelled of melted plastic (still does), my walls and ceilings were brown, and there was soot in the nooks and crannies of nearly everything (including my toilet which is in another room!). I'm incredibly fortunate to have great friends who spent their Sunday afternoon cleaning my apartment. Before their hard work, my apartment was apparently rather BLACK from the soot. They spent hours wiping down everything, washing my dishes, sweeping my ceiling, mopping my floor - just so I didn't have to come home to such a wreck. I'm eternally grateful to Trent and Zoe who worked so hard so I wouldn't have to be overwhelmed by it all when I came home. Great friends! So I talked to Steven, our foreign affairs guy, and he said he'll get some workers to come repaint my walls white and do some other things to spruce up the place.
Mondays are always good days for me. First of all, I don't have any classes on Monday. Second, Jess, Barry, and I always have our morning study at nine, and then at ten thirty, we go to old man Mike's apartment for an hour of Mahjong. Third, we have our Finer Things Club meeting in the evenings. Today after Mahjong, I was upstairs trying to finish the allotted section of The Brothers Karamazov (our recent book club book) for tonight's discussion group, when I heard Jessica squeal. Shortly after, my phone rang. It was Jess; she said, "Get down here now!" When I entered her room, she was coddling a little puppy. Then she said, "Look what Christina and Lawrence gave us!" As she said that, Lawrence turned around with a second puppy in his hands and thrust it towards me as I, too, let out a squeal that only comes out of me when pets are involved. So, now, Jessica and I have two puppies. Sim Sim Bashful is the male puppy who is lazy and adorable and sleeps all the time. Trixie is female and is spunky, dominant, and rough at times. They are both so cute! I don't know what we're going to do with two puppies, but we have them, and we love them.
This afternoon Jessica, Trent, Barry, me and our two puppies trekked up the mountain behind our school in search of the perfect Christmas tree. We found one and the boys spent some time cutting it down with a tiny saw and two kitchen butcher knives. We didn't actually bring it back to our apartment while it was light out, but drug it semi-close to our apartment building for easy retrieval after darkness descended to cover our deed. Jess and I met Kat at Megan's for our FTC meeting of potato soup and Dostoesky, and while we were gone Barry and Trent brought the Christmas tree into Jessica's apartment. It needed some serious trimming and now needs some serious over-looking of some serious flaws. It doesn't quite qualify as a Charlie Brown tree like last year's but has some very significant issues of its own; we're trying to love it. I'm sure it will grow on us, and with a little help will even fulfill its Christmas purpose.
So, to sum up: two sweet Thanksgivings; fire in apartment but minimal damage; new puppies; a Christmas tree - life is good.