Chardonnay Needler
Junior Jacqueline Chao and her mother Wei Qi pose for a picture in front of the Hukou Waterfall while vacationing in Xi’An, China. The Hukou Waterfall is the largest of the Yellow River’s waterfalls and the second largest in all of China.

Junior Jacqueline Chao, who is from Beijing, China, lives with junior Gabi Alvarado and her family. Chao experienced her first Thanksgiving in 2016.

Q: Did you know about Thanksgiving before you came here?
A: We talked about (Thanksgiving) in our English class. I went to a foreign-language school where we focused on English. We talked about the Native Americans and how (Thanksgiving became a holiday)

Q: How was your first Thanksgiving?

A: It was really fun. I went to Southern California with Gabi (Alvarado) and her family. I got to meet her family, and we went shopping a lot. It was my first time shopping in (Los Angeles), and it was crazy (since) there were so many people. (Then) we went to Gabi’s aunt’s house for dinner. It was (my) first time sitting down with a family to have a big dinner together. (At dinner) they (gave thanks), and I had never done that before. (I) thought that was really cool.


Q: How was the food ?

A: It was good. We had (the traditional dinner with) turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie.


Q: What type of pie did you have?
A: We had three types: pumpkin, apple and berry. I didn’t have any of the pumpkin pie because I don’t like cinnamon, but the berry pie was pretty good.


Q: Had you eaten any of the traditional Thanksgiving food before?         

I have had mashed potatoes before.  My mom sometimes makes them.


Q: Is there any festival in China that is similar?

A: Spring Festival is pretty similar to Thanksgiving. It’s the lunar new year that is celebrated with fireworks, food  (especially dumplings), family reunions and school breaks. It’s similar in the sense that families get together, have good food and are (thankful) for each other.


Q: What are you planning to do this year?

A: We are going to see some colleges in (Southern California); Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna and the University of Southern California. We are also going to go shopping and to her aunt’s house again for dinner.

—By Kristine Schmitz

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