save me a seat

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The holidays are different for everyone. For some people it is a precious time with all of their closest loved ones. For others, it’s a more bittersweet time. This Thanksgiving is my first major holiday away from home. The weeks leading up to this holiday have been getting a little harder. Living by myself in an apartment in a foreign country is very different from what I am used to. Counting me there is only two people who live in the entire apartment building. It’s very easy to isolate myself from everyone. My students have been helping me stay busy, but nothing is like spending the holidays at home.

Coming to China has been a huge sacrifice for sure. I don’t think there’s any way to comprehend all the moments you will miss in your American life until you are actually missing them. In my classes we talk about English proverbs sometimes. We talked about the quote, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” No quote has ever been more relevant to the phase of life I am in right now. I understand now how hard being separated from family is.

This week I taught my freshmen and sophomores about the meaning of Thanksgiving. I told them how important it is to be grateful of what we are given no matter the circumstances. I told them how much I miss home and my people, but I also told them how appreciative I am to have the opportunity to be with in China with them. I told them how thankful I am for each one of them and all the other sappy things.

While I’m definitely missing many moments in America, I’m still very thankful for the opportunity to be able to create moments here with the Chinese people. My heart is full because God has blessed me so much in America, and he is continuing to bless me in China. Save a seat for me at Thanksgiving dinner in the future, but for right now I’ll be celebrating 12,197 km away, and I am grateful.


Abigail Cooper