I headed up to New York City to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Yao and his girlfriend Monika. They are moving to Canada in a couple of months and this was probably the last time I was going to see them in the U.S. for a long time.
I met Yao about four years ago when he called me looking for a student club that brought international and American students together. At the time I was president of the International Communication Student Forum in grad school and Yao was studying here for a semester. Although the group was for people in my course of study and not exactly what Yao was looking for, we really hit it off and talked for about 30-45 minutes on the phone that first day. I was really thrown for a loop when he told me his name was Yao, because he was speaking English with a French accent. Of course I found out he had been studying in Paris for a few years although originally he is from China. So we became friends. He moved to New York City later that year and met Monika, an immigrant from Poland. And they have been together ever since.
I really like the two of them and was looking forward to celebrating a very American tradition with them. Monika made her first turkey and they had all the trimmings. A Swiss friend of theirs came over to join us and we had a wonderful meal together. During the weekend, we went to their local bagel joint for breakfast, had excellent dim sum in Flushing, New York. Walked 5th Avenue and drooled and petted the very expensive shoes in Bergdorf-Goodman. Had a delicious lunch at a tiny Korean deli on a side street somewhere in Manhattan. Met up with a Canadian friend of mine from Florida and attended Times Square Church with him and his mom.
We also had coffee in Greenwich Village which is where this picture is taken. Cheers to you Yao and Monika!