Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shèngdàn Kuàilè Xīnnián Kuàilè (Merry Christmas!)

Merry Christmas Eve! I'm sitting here in pj's with my mom and Mags, watching a movie and sipping 7Up (stomach flu beverage). At least I felt good enough to eat a little beef stew and cornbread tonight!
Anyway, I figured there was no better time than the present to revisit the Christmas I spent in Taiwan a couple of years ago...
I spent the days leading up to Christmas decorating my classroom. I decided that the best way to celebrate my favorite holiday (in a mostly non-Christian and non-Christmas celebrating country) was to help my students experience some of the traditions that my family practices every year. So, I made them a Christmas scene, complete with tree and gifts under it, snow, and a snowman (I'm not the MOST creative person, so this was a pretty big undertaking for me!). Then, we talked about how my family hangs ornaments on our tree every year, talking about the memories that each ornament brings back, and making new memories. Each student made an ornament of their own to hang on our classroom tree. They also all contributed a green handprint to the wreath we hung on the door to our classroom. Maybe the best of all were the Christmas lists that they made... Most of the girls asked for dolls, makeup, jewelry (yes, they were 1st and 2nd graders) and most of the boys asked for toy trains, airplanes, cars, and other "boy gifts". However, as I was hanging the lists on the wall, I noticed that Samuel (one of my favorite little boys) had asked for a Barbie! hahahaha When I asked him about it, he assured me the Barbie was a gift for his sister, but knowing his utter hatred for his sister, I have a sneaking suspicion that she never would have laid hands on that Barbie should Santa have made his way to Samuel's house!
On Christmas Eve, we had a Christmas game day/program at school. My class sang "Away In A Manger" and I wore a Santa Hat, and sweated like CRAZY in it - it was over 90 degrees in Chiayi that day!!! That night, I ate a caramel Santa that Kara sent me and watched Christmas movies.
Christmas is not an official holiday in Taiwan, so I had to work. Fortunately, though, it fell on a Tuesday that year, and I never had to work earlier than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. On Christmas morning, I slept in, made eggs and sausage for breakfast (not the same as at home, but the idea was still there), watched Christmas movies, then headed to the Starbucks in the Chiayi mall. It was the perfect place to spend my Christmas day because it was one of the only places in town decked out for Christmas. Plus, even Taiwanese Starbucks have Gingerbread Lattes and Cranberry Bliss Bars! Thus, my love for Gingerbread Lattes began. I was sad and missing my family. It was the first time I had ever been away from them on Christmas and the smell and taste of the latte brought back a little of the comfort of home and on that day made me feel just a little less homesick. Now, every time I have one, I think about my Christmas in Taiwan and how grateful I am to be home now...
Ok. Off to finish watching Love Actually with the fam, maybe a little of The Christmas Story, then head to bed and wait for Santa to come! : )
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

p.s. Pictures from Taiwan Christmas and from this Christmas Eve!

1 comment:

  1. Great story, and great pictures, Katie! I hope you feel better soon...merrry christmas!