28 December 2008

Christmas in Kaohsiung

Now that I've gone over my classroom activities, I can tell you about the "traditional" Christmas I managed to pull together in this land without any apparent Christmas tradition.

Every Christmas since I can remember, I have been in Berwyn with my family. We go to church on Christmas Eve at 11pm, where we sing Silent Night in candlelight. Christmas day, we wake up in the morning (or afternoon, in recent years) and open presents and stockings together under the tree. "We" of course is my mom, dad, brothers, usually grandmother, and more recently, Cressy, our high-school-days' foreign exchange student from China. Then we have an extended family Christmas dinner, either at my family's house, my grandmother's house, or my cousins' house nearby. We call family further away, and then occasionally my brothers will run off to a movie and maybe invite me along, too. Or we'll all fall into turkey-and-sugar coma and fall asleep.

I was more than a little bummed about being away from home for Christmas. Right after Thanksgiving, my roommates and I decorated our apartment with a small (fake-- duh) tree, lights, and even some stockings. We found all the Christmas movies we could get our hands on, but that's all we could do.

As Christmas came closer, though, it started to seem a little more real. I was angry about having to be here, I tried to pretend it wasn't Christmas, I got sad about it, and finally, I got over it. I managed to find an English-speaking (in fact, foreigner-run) candlelight service on Christmas Eve, with Silent Night and readings from Luke and everything. We ordered a turkey from a hotel nearby, and some Fulbrighters even made some homemade mashed potatoes. So those Fulbrighters around brought a dish, came to our apartment, had a Christmas dinner, and watched Christmas movies. After our guests left, my roommates and I exchanged presents under the tree. It wasn't home, but it was something.

My roommate Dan, carving the turkey:

Decorating gingerbread cookies, care of Nicki:

Christmas revelry. You can see our decorations in the background:

After the gift exchange. Vicky is "that kid" who has to wear every gift she receives...

After watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" over a dozen times last week, I finally had to learn my lesson...
Christmas Day is in our grasp,
So long as we have hands to clasp.

4 comments:

The Chao said...

damn right i am. And I think you must agree, I look sweet! The only thing missing is a reindeer sweater.....

Aubrey said...

Well at least that Santa with a beer flag finally came in handy, right?

Your Parents said...

Your family missed you -- there was an empty spot where you should be. So glad to hear you made some good memories -- we miss you and love you. Mom and Dad

Jonathan said...

Came to say how excited I was that the beer Santa was finally appropriate; glad someone else caught that too!