This was my first year celebrating Thanksgiving outside of the United States. Having spent all of my previous Thanksgivings celebrating with my family in the Midwest, this celebration was a little different, but I’m sure will be a little more memorable for this reason. Fourteen hours ahead of my family back home (due to the considerable time difference), I gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mongolia with an assortment of American and Mongolian friends. Our table of food — covered with everything from apple pie to latkes to spicy fried rice to Mongolian buuz (steamed dumplings filled with meat) — reflected the diverse backgrounds of the attendees of our gathering. At the same time, the diversity of people and food present reflected the diversity of American culture perhaps more accurately than my previous Thanksgiving celebrations in the US have been able to. And while some of the elements of Thanksgiving that I’m used to were missing this year — I wasn’t with my family, didn’t get the day off of work, and didn’t have turkey — the purpose of Thanksgiving was successfully achieved: I spent the evening reminded of my gratitude for the people I was gathered with and the meal we were sharing together. And perhaps I was just a little more mindful on this particular Thanksgiving of how very American Thanksgiving is, yet just how universal it is to give thanks.
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10
The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.
Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year
(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.