swapping soy sauce for gravy

I know it has been awhile since my last post, but holiday season in Beijing is also very busy. Yes, Thanksgiving was over two weeks ago, but it’s worth telling you about the process of getting a turkey in Beijing and how we managed to make Thanksgiving seem like the real deal.

First, I need to throw a huge thank you to the Schooler and Fidler families who sent us lots of fun decorations to help the holiday more festive.

Second, I had I to figure out how i was going to get a Turkey in Beijing. Several restaurants in Beijing  do all out turkey dinners but Thanksgiving is about being at home with friends and family so I was determined to make that happen. We lack an oven in our apartment so getting an already cooked turkey was going to be the best bet.  I quickly discovered that there were lots of American restaurants willing to sell us whole turkeys. I was thrilled, until I heard the price. 1200 RMB for a turkey, that’s roughly $200 dollars. That price tag was far too expensive for my teacher’s budget and I knew a better deal could be found.  I called over six restaurants and did the thing any normal person would do in China, I haggled the price. If you  told me two years ago that I would be living in China haggling the price of a turkey using Chinglish over the phone, I would have laughed. Well, I was actually laughing to myself as the conversation was happening.

Finally, I found a restaurant that was willing to negotiate their price to a more reasonable one. I got a turkey for 600 RMB and the manager was even willing to throw in a side of gravy! Score.

My manager, who is Chinese, graciously gave me a half day of work because she understand how important this holiday is for Americans. I hopped in a cab from work and headed to the diner where I was to pick up my turkey. I walked in and the restaurant and the whole place was busy prepping for an American crowd to come in for dinner that evening. So, the manager quickly gave me the turkey and gravy and sent me on my way. Although I love to cook, I’ve never really been on turkey prepping duty when it comes to Thanksgiving in the Schooler family. So, i guess what i’m trying to say is damn a whole turkey is heavy.

So here I was with a whole turkey and how were the turkey and I going to get from point A to point B?

It was one of those really windy days in Beijing and my hair ear muff combination just wasn’t working with me. As I walked out of the restaurant, I managed to slowly make it down the steps and across the street to catch a cab. However, every cab passing wasn’t free. So I just decided to start walking down the streets of Beijing with my turkey. After awhile, my arms started to get tired so I did the unthinkable. I put the turkey on my head and balanced it. Surprisingly that worked well for awhile and then I realized that this situation would soon turn into a disaster if i did not remove the turkey from the top of my head. The wind was blowing my hair into my face, my ear muffs came down to my neck and my turkey was the size of a small child. I needed a cab.

I guess it was obvious that I needed a cab because a car pulled over and offered me a ride home. It sounds sketchy, but it happens in China all of the time. But , I decided to solider on and head towards home until i found a cab.

Alas, after twenty minutes of walking, a cab pulled over for me. Never has a Beijing cab smelled so good as then when there was turkey and gravy wafting through the air.  I managed to get upstairs and quickly began prepping the apartment to look festive! A few hours later, all of our American friends showed up. Each person brought a side dish and it turned out to be a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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