Christmas in China

Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Thursday, December 26, 2013

The festive season is upon us, and the people of Beijing have wholeheartedly embraced the 'festive' part.  As you walk down the streets, the trees are decorated with fairy lights, Christmas trees adorn every shop from the huge one in the mall to the small one in my gym and everything in between. Christmas carols are on repeat everywhere, probably annoying the employees there as much as they do back home. There is no mention of the real reasons behind Christmas, but in that way, it is also like home.  It does get you into the spirit of the season, though, still seeing all the decorations. I think it makes people instantly happier when seeing coloured lights dancing in the tree branches,  It does to me, anyway.
Christmas Eve was spent in a restaurant on campus, with us having our own private room.  I had my friends Margaux and Vesliana join us, as well as my amazing China support network of Rebecca, Sammy, Faye (with their son An An), Ian, Emily and Emily's mum.  These people have been so helpful for me all year, from calling visa offices for me, to helping me open multiple bank accounts, and letting me join them on trips to the snow, to Shidu and everywhere in between. I am so grateful for their everlasting patience and eagerness to help me, so it was a great opportunity to say thank you with a Christmas dinner. Mum and Dad had made a huge effort by bringing all these Christmas decorations from home, and mum decorated the tables beautifully with Christmas crackers, little Christmas trees and party bags for everyone.
I was in charge of ordering the food, and I certainly took my responsibility seriously.  I had the perfect mixture of pork, beef, chicken and vegetable dishes, which I think covered all of the important sections of the food pyramid.  Everyone appeared to like the food, but I was really only paying attention to my own enjoyment of the food.
The best part of the night was just being around people that I loved.  We were joking around, listening to Christmas songs, and eating until we couldn't move.   Vesliana got her Polaroid camera out and we took silly selfies and waited for them to develop.  My one made my skin appear so white that I was convinced for the majority of the night that it hadn't finished developing yet.  Apparently not, it appears as if I really am that pale.
At the end of the night, we went back to our hotel room and watched the Polar Express, as we do every Christmas Eve, no matter which country we're celebrating in.
Christmas Day started with an early morning for poor Hayley, who was off to her 8am class. I decided to skip this lesson, as I have not missed any other classes this semester, and we had finished the curriculum anyway. I went to class at the half time break to drop in my Kris Kringle present and wish my classmates a Merry Christmas. Everyone was in an appropriately jolly mood. Apparently one of my classmates made cookies, so that may explain the happiness in the room.
We had Christmas lunch at the Hyatt hotel in the heart of Beijing.  The buffet was stocked for five times the amount of people in the restaurant (Dad counted 35 including our big group of 12).  The food was delicious, and it was really comforting being able to have foods like roast turkey and roast ham like what we would be having back home. We opened our Kris Kringle presents to each other, and popped a number of Christmas crackers.  Some of them had charades in them too, so we had a long table game of charades. In one game, Rita was mimicking opening a book to show the second word in the movie title.  Laura was guessing everything from 'word' and 'book' to 'Bible...JESUS!'....Who knew Toy Story 3 would be so hard to guess?
As a group, we did our best to make a serious dent in the food offered at the buffet, and I have to say, we did pretty well. Course after course, making the tricky decision to have one more savoury or move to dessert, eating the sour lemon sorbet, we conquered everything.
As much as we ate until we couldn't eat any more, about three hours later, Dad, Steve, Craig, James, Rita, Laura, Hayley and I ran for a sneaky Maccas run. Shhhhhh!
Later in the evening, I went to the apartment of my classmate Maureen, where she put on a Christmas party for our class.  We danced around, ate wonderfully made home cooked food, and chatted in a variety of languages.  Maureen had a huge world map on her wall, and we all drew arrows on it from where we are all from.  It's pretty beautiful when you look at something like that; with every continent covered in ink names and realizing that though we are from every part of the world, be we were brought together to Beijing and celebrated Christmas together.   
My Christmas in China was some parts traditional, some parts not so much, but I spent the entire time smiling, and so thankful for all the blessings God has given me
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Aunty Kate on

It sounds like you all had a wonderful Christmas together and were able to celebrate in a variety of ways. All the best for a brilliant 2014

Lyn on

Thank you for sharing your Christmas celebrations with us. What a cosmopolitan time you had. How thoughtful for Mum and Dad to bring the decorations and crackers from home.

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