Inside our house was a warm bubble of Christmas cheer and music. We opened one present (which we were pretty sure was cheese) before preparing our full English breakfast. parent went to Uni-mart on a mission to get juice while Nate cooked. I said “Merry Christmas” to everyone I met, but only received blank stares and “ting bu dong” (I don’t understand) in return, even when I did my Santa impression for them. They’d had christmas music and decorations in every major store or restaurant all week, but they didn’t have a clue why it was there! And that was when I felt my biggest wave of culture shock since I’d arrived in China. Billions of people were celebrating today, billions of little eyes were opening, bright with excitement, billions of feet were pounding to their parent’s rooms, billions of hands were tugging on their parents arms, billions of mouths shouting “wake up it’s Christmas!” (in one language or another) and billions of (parents) were muttering back “five more minutes”. (numbers are estimated)
If you could hear everyone singing Merry Christmas a the same time the noise would be deafening, but China didn’t even tremor.
I knew they didn’t celebrate Christmas but you would think that somehow the magic of the day would squeeze through, but no, the day was the same as any other day here in China. I hurried back to the apartment where it’s walls cocooned us from the drudgery of the every day.
The CTs were working today so we stopped in (after breakfast, gifts, and a nap) to give out little presents, and then went around the corner to purchase our christmas duck. Sonya and her sister came over for Christmas dinner and we ate the duck in wraps with cucumber, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce, along with hand made hoison sauce. We ended the night with spiked hot chocolate, and a Skype date with our families. I’d like to think that the magic of Christmas may have escaped our little apartment just a little bit, and caught on the wind to spread across the country: a warm draft carrying smells of roasted duck, and the faint sound of laughter. Merry Christmas everyone, wherever you may be spending it this year!