Shelby Oelklaus is a UW student who received a Chinese Ambassador Wyoming Scholarship to study in Chengdu, China at Chengdu University. Shelby has spent this semester in China and will be staying through the spring.
Shelby says spending the Holidays in China is “interesting” and a little “bizarre.” Shelby spent Thanksgiving with a group of Americans who “have lived in Chengdu for many years.” Although the group was able to find most of their Thanksgiving dinner ingredients pretty easily, they had particular difficulty finding cranberry sauce. They also encountered some serious cooking challenges!
According to Shelby, “the average Chinese oven is about 1/3 the size of an American oven, so our turkey was slightly less regal and boarding on the verge of tiny, but delicious all the same.” Despite the small turkey, Shelby said the holiday was the “most unique and most memorable Thanksgiving” she has ever experienced.
As December approached in Chengdu, so did Christmas. According to Shelby, “Christmas decorations began to spring up all over the city at the start of the month.” The decorations, however, weren’t her traditional favorites. She says, regarding the Chinese decorations, “it's like the whole of China was invited to an ugly sweater party.” Shelby says she was surprised by the Western influence in Asia.
As Shelby’s first semester comes to an end, she’s taken time to explore the Chengdu area. She recently visited Mt. Emei, one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China adorned (with roughly 70 Buddhist temples). She says Mt. Emei, is “absolutely breathtaking.”
Shelby wishes all UW students a wonderful winter break and a Merry Christmas. You can send Shelby a Holiday greeting at firstname.lastname@example.org.