I heard a while back that the city we live in has about 4,000 foreigners. From all over. So we have import stores, western restaurants, toy stores, a dozen Starbucks. We don't suffer a lot here. I actually wouldn't be surprised if there are actually more than 4,000 "lao wai."
We feel blessed by our little village. In our apartment complex, there are two boys the same age as Luke. And a girl and boy pretty close to the same age as Jace. We have families to play with and folks to do dinner with any time.
We get to go to fun Christmas parties like one that is called a BRIC party where we each make a new recipe (to us) and take it for a dinner party. Someone gets to make the appetizer, someone makes the main dish, someone makes dessert, sides, etc...Our friend thought it up--she's pretty creative. And it's fun.
We get to host parties that are a mixture of our local friends and foreign friends like tonight. We'll eat hot pot for supper and then do traditional Christmas stuff with our friends at our house. Cookie decorating, Christmas story telling, singing, etc.
We look at each other and think how thankful we are for the community we have here. How thankful we are for our ex-pat friends. But just how thankful we also are for our local friends. It's a gift.