The Interesting Traditions of a Chinese-American Family

On the cold Thanksgiving afternoons of Washington, DC---while the rest of the nation stays wrapped up in a warm blanket and plopped on the sofa to watch a game of football---my family heads to the National Zoo to spend a couple hours with the lions, pandas, and wolves. Visiting the zoo, you see, is one of my family's (strange) traditions.

This tradition started back when I was a surly pre-teen in middle school. During our first outing to the zoo on a cloudy Thanksgiving day, I grumbled and groaned throughout the drive into the city. Why are we going to the zoo of all places? Then I crossed my arms and stared out of the window in a huff.

Yet as we walked around the cement paths of the enclosure and as we gazed at the animals lazing behind their cages, I started to point and laugh at the funny camels and the smelly elephants. This was the zoo, after all, and zoos are mighty fun.

This past Thanksgiving, my family headed to the zoo once again and I was reminded how odd my family can be. My mother, bless her Chinese heart, continually whistled and cawed at the animals to cajole them to approach the fence. My father, bless him too, took dozens of pictures of the red pandas scampering around their new habitat. Ah, but I love them.

And I love Thanksgiving too.

(The picture above was taken at the newly opened Asian exhibition at the National Zoo. Go Asia!)