Definitely a bit of a difference between how I felt about Christmas when I was 4 (left) versus how I feel about it now. Obviously, I loved getting presents of the He-Man, Transformers, LEGO, GI Joe, ThunderCats, GoBots, Star Wars variety back then. Nowadays I have more fun buying gifts for people and seeing/imagining their reactions.
That said, I'm not sure how I feel about this Christmas. Christmas in Tang Shan... just sounds like a weird juxtaposition. I guess part of it is that I have very little time to ponder and anticipate. We have our school's Christmas Party on Saturday, in the Museum of Science and Technology downstairs, then a Christmas supper that night, then a full day teaching on Sunday, then Christmas. With Alistair and Duncan gone (and Camilla in Beijing) it will be Nick, Michelle and myself along with a few of the assistants (I hope). If not, I will just spend a quiet day by myself, maybe go to Tianjin and wander some of the old culture streets and visit the museum to Huo Yuanjia. I'm just not in the mood for abiding Nick if he's in one of his slumps.
Christmas just doesn't feel like anything this year. It feels like a day I ought to be looking forward to, but am not. Part of how Christmas will be depends on how Nick decides to act. Will he be or pretend to be a human being, or will he be a moody prick? Beijing duck isn't really a substitute for my mom's turkey and stuffing and potatoes and carrots and gravy and lemon merange pie! Also, Christmas really is more about having a bit of time off and being with people you care about. While I like the people I work with, it seems like a very poor exchange. Part of Christmas is all the little things that cause those "yay!" twinges in your brain: my parents waking up the morning of, making coffee, pouring orange juice, my mom baking cinnamon buns, my brother having to be prodded out of hybernation, etc. first before anyone approaches the tree. How my parents settle with little smiles into their chairs around the tree while my brother and I dole out the presents to everyone. (We start by sorting everyone's stuff first, then piling them at the recipient's feet, then unwrap them one by one... it's like Canada Post Christmas!)
Anyhoo. Time will tell how I'm feeling about Christmas this year. It's very weird seeing shops with xmas decorations all over, and no one celebrates it here. Well, that's not true. Some families do, or use it as an excuse to give gifts. Like most people, the Chinese love an excuse to celebrate with family and friends.
Tonight I have my Budweiser VIP lesson and I've finally relented to his pestering me about taking me out for supper and drinks. I hope I can rope in Michelle and/or Nick to come with me. Otherwise, it could be a very dull and trying time with him no doubt continuing to try to plan my Christmas. At least I will have an excuse to turn in early: my Early Learner class is at 9am, and I need to be in for 8:20am or so to double-check materials and prep.
I'll try to get one of my TB 5Bs to take pictures at the Christmas Party. Almost all of them volunteered to help, but there isn't much for them to do, so I'll put one on camera duty. Should be a fun night. I can't wait to see the spoof of the Beijing Opera.
So Merry Christmas, all! Eat some turkey and drink some wine for me.