CHRISTMAS IS COMING: Day 114, Saturday Dec. 21 2013

Today’s the day of the school Christmas party, and with all the politics surrounding it in the past week I had mixed feelings from the start. We worked in the morning, and then headed out to the street to try and wave down a cab. Try as we might to hail one, every car that passed was full. Katrina cursed as one with a “For hire” sign lit in it’s front window zipped by.

It was full,” Nate’s voice of reason…

They should turn off their light if they’re full!” She stormed. I expected her to stomp her foot like a raging toddler.

Pretty sure that was their meter’s light and not the for hire sign.” He may have been right, it could be hard to tell.

Well they shouldn’t make them the same colour then,” She snapped back. “They could at least see if we’re going the same direction.”

They could except there are only four seats in a cab, and one, two, three, four of us.”

Katrina turned to a stormy silence, turning her eyes back to the road. Over the past couple days Lainey had been commenting on how no one else could think positively but Nate and I.

Eventually we gave up on the cab idea and took the bus. Nate kept bugging Lainey (who recently found out she’s pregnant!), “Watch out,” I warned him, “When those baby hormones get going she’s going to kill you!”

Well after all the rush to get there, they didn’t have us doing much. It was 2:00 pm, and the party didn’t start until six. Eventually they called up the open gangnam style dancers to practice. It was a chaotic mess. Michelle was the only one who knew the dance. Ray just sort of free formed. Katrina wondered if he was drunk, I commented that he was Ray.

A massive spread of food was being placed out in a huge buffet for Christmas dinner. It was enough to feed a gathering three times the size, but for some reason we weren’t allowed to touch any of it. We were sent away for dinner. We went to a cafe Jason recommended.

A couple of my colleagues ordered alcoholic drinks. The issue of drinking at the party was… something else indeed. Candy said no, but Mike said why not, which Damian and his “wolf pack” (as he likes to call his followers) took to mean get hammered. At this point though things were quiet and dinner beverage seemed harmless enough.

It took 45 minutes for the first one person pizza to show up. We weren’t concerned, the others would be right behind it, we’d eat them quick or bring them with us, and still be back in time. How wrong we were. What they hadn’t told us when we’d ordered food was that they only had an oven big enough to cook one pizza at a time, and each pizza took 45 minutes. We returned to the party starving, still not allowed to touch the buffet.

The others were still out getting “food” and when they stumbled back in they were quite visibly drunk. Now if it had stopped there then the booze would have improved their dancing, and about an hour later they would have sobered up. The party would have gone on as planned and everyone would have been happy (except those of us denied food). Instead the idiots kept sneaking beer from the buffet and from their hidden stash, which they’d chug in the bathroom. How old do you have to be to stop acting 14?

So lets take you into the moment: colleagues are hammered, we have no food, but at least we have a place to sit, and I’m excited to see some of my students. Some will be putting on a performance, some are just here for fun. At least we have a spot to sit back and watch. Not for long. Apparently the place had been over booked, meaning the teachers were the ones to loose their seats. Nate and I ended up sitting out in the lobby feeling completely rejected. To me Christmas had always been a time for love, sharing, family, and friendship. Here we were completely excluded from the celebrations. This was one of the hardest moments of our stay in China. We left early- got permission from one of our bosses- and missed out on the grand finally. Mike was the host of the party, and was so drunk that he ended up knocking a tree down onto a child. At the end of the night Jason and Damian got into a fight in front of all of the parents and children. What a way to end a Christmas party.

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