I went to the most awesome Christmas concert the other day. It was a Chinese New Year/ Christmas Concert and mostly attended by foreigners. My school bought the tickets for all the American teachers as a Christmas present this year. There was not much in the way of Christmas content but it was fun nonetheless. Chinese do not get the concept of Christmas, yet they want to be part of the american traditions. They set up trees and lights and pictures of Santa, but Christmas is not a day it is a season and a mindset of giving to others, and peace and good will or whatever. I have tried to tell my students that but I’m not sure it has registered with them. It’s just a different culture.
There is something about being in China that makes me miss American holidays less, because it’s easy to forget that Christmas is two days away. No one here is excited about Christmas, or eagerly preparing Christmas cookies or other delicious treats. Several of my friends are going home for the holidays so many of them have not even put up Christmas decorations this year.
I am trying to make some new traditions to celebrate Christmas in my own way even though I am far from you all, my friends and family back home. For one thing, I am making my own Christmas ornaments out of felt. They have turned out really cute so far, and I’m going to try and make some for my friends here to feel more at home. Also, I’ve been having my students over quite a bit for Christmas gatherings. I invited 3 of my eight classes over, one of which will be here tonight for a Christmas party. Also, the other American teachers and I have gotten together several times to sing Christmas carols and even did a gift exchange.
I know it’s not the same as being home, but being in China is very rewarding, and I’m trying to focus on the positives. Kristen sent me a blog post today from her cousin in Cambodia and it talked about how sometimes we don’t let ourselves grieve for things, like being away from home, or various losses in our lives. He concluded that this is not healthy and it’s not what our Father intended. The Good Book talks about a time for everything, and I have decided that sometimes it’s okay to take a few minutes to acknowledge that I miss you all, as long as I don’t dwell on it.
Tonight I’m going to have my students over and make muffins with sprinkles on top, and tomorrow my friends Jim, Kaila, and Tammy are spending Christmas Eve with me, and we will have a big Christmas breakfast in our pajamas. I miss home, but I do have some great friends here in China.
Until next time, I love you all very much, and a Merry Christmas to everyone.