Monday, December 21, 2009
So Much Hullabaloo
Christmas week is upon us and we are busy with all kinds of Christmas activities. China itself might not do much to celebrate Christmas (though I am seeing more Santa decorations on stores) but we celebrate in overdrive, since students all think Christmas is the greatest thing ever and want to get in on the action. We have started singing Christmas songs in all our classes. Our students (and in fact, most of the Chinese people I know) love singing. Last weekend we had a bunch of students over to make Christmas decorations and cookies and then more over to watch a Christmas movie.
Yesterday we had a teacher's tea. We haven't had too much success in the past with people coming, but this time 17 teachers came. They all know each other well and so there was lots of talking and laughing. Everyone was excited to try the cookies and wanted to know how we made them. They enjoyed singing Christmas songs (even insisted on singing the 12 Days of Christmas) and asked about all the weird words (“don we now our gay apparel” - think about it – Christmas songs use a lot of strange/old words). We played a hot-potato type “pass the present” game which of course involved punishment for whoever was caught with the present. What good game doesn't involve punishment? The favorite punishment is singing a song for everyone.
One of the teachers also asked about some other words from her textbook. She was trying to describe and spell a word but I couldn't figure out what it was. Finally it struck me - “hullabaloo.” And that was it. Glad to know they are learning useful words like hullabaloo, which I have heard but am pretty sure I've never used before. Incidentally, it is in the Office dictionary. Is that really necessary?
We also made up cookie plates to bring to some of the leaders and the people around campus who help us out – the copy guy, the mail lady, the guy who unlocks the classroom doors. They were surprised, pleased, and a bit confused. We also made up stockings for our waiban and her assistant. They were very interested and excited about the stockings. They both asked, “All of it is for me?” The assistant took out all the things right away and then excitedly helped the waiban open hers. She was almost jumping with excitement. It was fun.
This week we have a Christmas banquet, caroling with students, Christmas lecture, caroling in the dorms, a Christmas program, our own Christmas day activities (Christmas nap?), and on Saturday we will go to Xian to celebrate with a few other teachers. We have been invited to various student Christmas parties but already have other things going on. And of course, in the middle of all that we will have our regular classes and activities and are supposedly planning our finals for next week. So much hullabaloo.