Thanksgiving Day 20: McDonald’s

Soft Shelled Turtle for dinner

This isn’t the fish display in Latvia, but shows something similar. It is a soft-shelled turtle I was “honored” with while in China. As the special guest at this particular dinner I “got” to eat the shell! It wasn’t too bad, but my tummy was not happy the next day.

The Golden Arches, Mickey D’s, McDonald’s. Some of you have already turned away disgusted because I would be grateful for this fast food franchise, but let me tell you why. It has saved me many times, both emotionally and my tummy.

How it saved my tummy!

I was fourteen and in Latvia for the International Boys Choir Festival with the Texas Boys Choir. At the end of the week-long event there was a party for all of the participating choirs. Unfortunately, the food offered at this party was stuff we were not used to or interested in trying. For many of us it was the first time we saw a banquet spread of fish staring back. (FYI: I’ve matured a bit in my likes and dislikes of food and have branched out since then. See the photo.)

That wasn’t the only unusual food on the trip, but that was the food that was just too far. Suffice it to say there were 30 very hungry boys. Thankfully, there was at least one McDonald’s in Riga not far from our hotel that was open late. So, we hit it up on the way back and were saved.

How it saved me emotionally!

Making dumplings at Jamie's

Learning how to make dumplings with friends.

My first week in Hefei, China I experienced a bit of homesickness. Unusual for me but I was in an apartment that felt like a dreary hospital, didn’t have any idea of what I was doing with no assigned class schedule, no TV I could understand or any signage or people for that matter, no connection to the internet, and no one anywhere around that I knew and could hang out with. Anyway, that first week I found McDonald’s and felt better having a little something that reminded me of home. I quickly got over my homesickness and got a little homesick for China when I moved to Arizona.

There are other examples, and I’m sure I’ll benefit from it again in the future. Afterall, McDonald’s offers cheap food and big delicious $1 Dr Peppers. These are some reasons I am grateful for the Golden Arches even if it isn’t the best burger or food or a local restaurant.

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