Firstly I have to say that while the Chinese don't celebrate Christmas they sure know how to party!! I started off on Christmas Eve with the arrival of the senior teachers to my apartment just as I had finished work with a bloody big Xmas tree complete with decorations, tinsel and fairy lights! Lots of photos taken for the school and the head No. 2 made a speech in Chinese (hence I understood very little) but apparently he was wishing me a Merry Christmas on behalf of the school. Have taken a photo as I have no intention of dragging a 5 foot tree back to Aus.
No sooner had they departed when one of my FAOs knocked on the door to tell me we were now heading out to dinner - remember I've just finished work - no time to change except my jacket , a splash of perfume and put on some lovely necklace and earrings. So off we go to a lovely restaurant where we had a private dining room and a number of the Chinese English teachers joined us. They gave me a lovely bejewelled butterfly hair clip for my Xmas present - I was almost speechless as I did not realise they were aware of the significance of butterflies for me - so naturally that had to worn immediately. A wonderful feast awaited us with much laughter. The hotel presented me with a santa hat with pigtails (??!!?) and 2 long red roses. Photos galore were taken but I still managed to dine to my hearts (stomachs?) satisfaction!!
Left the restaurant and then it was off to another hotel for KTV. For those who haven;t experienced this delight its karaoke held in your own private room, with your own drink waiter and lots of snacks which seemed to keep being replenished at a rapid rate!! And then we started singing......yes even I with my melodious voice!! Actually I sang so much I almost lost my voice but they all wanted to hear songs they knew in English......if I never hear another ABBA song it will be too soon!! The hotel was all decked out for Christmas with a huge purple christmas tree ( this is after me telling my students all week that you would never see a purple one!!), Sana in his sleigh complete with reindeers and more santa hats etc. etc. Finished up about midnight as most had to teach early the next day.
Christmas Day arrived and I am awoken by the bells for the students to get ready for class but, not me, I could sit in bed with a nice cuppa and a good book to start the day. Talked to some of my family via Skype for an hour , responded to my Xmas emails and then headed out for lunch. I was invited to the home of an American couple who have lived in China for 30 years but still enjoy a traditional Xmas lunch. There were about 20 of us there to enjoy a delicious lunch(without a grain of rice in sight!), some nice WINE (at last) and great company. I think they took in all the stray foreigners for Christmas but it was soooo nice to be able to speak English at a reasonable pace and not have to keep repeating myself.
Christmas night and it was off to Firefly where they had a HUGE Christmas night - tree, stockings over the fireplace, carols, etc. etc. All the Chinese people wished us a Merry Christmas and once again much photo taking. I think they all thought they were in 7th heaven when they got 3 blonde lao shi's together!!! Some of my students joined me and we partied until midnight again. Got home to find some Christmas gifts on my doorstep from my students - what a wonderful way to finish the day/night!!
So while I may not have seen my family and friends I still managed to have a very memorable Christmas in 2010.