Friday, January 28, 2011

Misc Musings

1) A rainbow has made the front page of the Minor News. To be fair, a rainbow when temperatures are below freezing is a rare sight indeed.

2) Ice harvesting has begun for the Ice Art Championships! Yay!

3) I'm planning my first attempt at a Fairbanksan Chinese New Year dinner (dunno why I didn't do anything the past few years). My first Thanksgiving up here, I invited over a bunch of foreign students, who experienced their first American Thanksgiving, and now I will have a bunch of non-Californian Americans, to experience their first Chinese New Year! I've come to notice another cultural difference between the San Francisco Bay Area and Fairbanks. In the former, not only are the Americans more exposed to immigrants, but the immigrants are more Americanized. Here in Fairbanks, immigrants are still a novelty (just a few weeks ago, I met a lady who delightedly observed my Chinese-ness and expressed a wish to introduce me to her Chinese friend, because, hey, we're both Chinese, so we ought to meet!), and the immigrants seem to have a worse command of English and have had much less exposure to American culture.

For example, when I invited over an East Indian student for my aforementioned first Thanksgiving here, the conversation proceeded thusly:

Would you like to come over for Thanksgiving dinner?

"Sure! Thank you! Which day?"

Uhhh... I was thinking Thursday. Thursday of this upcoming long weekend...

Afterwards, a mutual friend (who declined my invitation to go backpacking for the weekend instead) asked how it had gone, and my guest expressed astonishment at the quantity of food, and she couldn't believe how much I ate! She rattled off the list of dishes, a list she had never seen before and whose composition was completely novel to her--turkey ("this big enormous bird Arvay roasted!"), stuffing ("She put bread crumbs in the bird! It was delicious!"), mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc. All of it was completely trite to the American listener, and all a stunning novelty to my Indian guest.

So shall the situation be reversed for this Chinese New year dinner. I'm quite looking forward to it. :)

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