Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving RAFTS in Shanghai

Moving once is hard enough. But moving twice internationally within three months? Let's talk worried mama bear syndrome here in Shanghai! I've been mulling over how to help my kiddos transition from Shanghai back to Seattle. A wonderful counselor shared with me the RAFT plan--saying goodbye in a healthy, healing way.

Reconciliation: reconcile with those who you've had a rift with during your stay. The kiddos and I have tried--each of us writing letters. Letters. And more letters.
Affirmation: affirm those who have helped you. We wrote even more letters to everyone who has shepherded us in Shanghai, protected us, mentored us, cared for us. I went to one of my favorite restaurants here in town, demanded to talk to the manager, and told him that I was sending my beloved driver to dinner there...and hoped they would provide the most excellent service in history for Zhang Shifu and his wife. They better. I want Zhang Shifu to feel affirmed with our love for him.
Farewell: say farewell to your favorite persons, places, and things. So we said goodbye to our favorite restaurants with great alacrity (can you say Shanghainese dumplings at Din Tai Fund?). And our favorite haunts and favorite people. We even snuck in an adventure today on Thanksgiving to have our portrait taken as we said goodbye to Shanghai lilongs (old neighborhoods) and shikumen houses.
Transition: prepare for the return knowing that while you have changed, home may not have. We have alerted all our friends of our impending return. And have had loooong talks about what we look forward to in Seattle...and what we don't (hmmm...gray gloomy overhead clouds?). That includes some traditional Thanksgiving food...

And people say that the Chinese eat weird stuff? Please. This marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole of American mystery somehow qualified as a VEGETABLE dish at our school potluck.

Today I am thankful for my sense of ADVENTURE. And for my peeps who share the same interest in life.

1 comment:

  1. Re-reading the end of Terry Pratchett's Hat Full of Sky last night, I thought of you -- and me, and all of us who are away and will come home. Tiffany makes the astute observation that only by going away can you see home again in its true colors; that you will look at people differently when you return and people will see you as no longer the same. I think your RAFT will be sound, and you will sail through this.