Christmas Eve in China – An Evening to Remember!

Wedneday1Messages of the Day:

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

Team Journal Entry:

Christmas Eve in Kunming, but no stockings hung by the chimney with care. Minimal hopes the St. Nicholas will appear. We did add some festiveness to the school today with our Santa hats. The kids seemed to enjoy them.

Today we had three sessions of “dialogue” with 7th and 8th graders. Many subjects were covered from work status of both fathers and mothers, favorite classes in school, how they celebrate Chinese New Year, cooking at home, etc. christmas treeBoth Jack and Linda showed photos of their families. Some excellent questions came from the students, such as “Why did you come to China?”, “What have you learned about China?”, and “How does your family spend Christmas?”  Several new words were introduced to their vocabulary: “housewife” and “culture” being two of them.

We left school earlier than usual due to the expected heavy traffic on Christmas Eve. And it happened – heavy traffic which our skillful driver, Mr. Yang, negotiated with great agility using numerous back streets and alleys to get us safely to our hotel.

Now for the excitement of the day. We went “out for dinner” to a very nice restaurant which had small open fires burning on the floor in pits between the tables.  Nice to be warm. Then we went out into the streets to walk for about an hour. You had to be there to believe it .Think New Year’s Eve in Times Square, but without drunks! There were incredible hordes of people – mostly young adults – but lots of families with small children, everyone perfectly mannerly and all sober. Some people had on Santa hats, others Mardi Gras masks. Lots of snow-in-a-can was being sold and sprayed on the crowd.

The crowds on the street  in Kunming on Christmas Eve

The crowds on the street in Kunming on Christmas Eve

This is an annual Christmas Eve gathering in Chinese cities. No one had an idea of what was being celebrated, but whatever it was or is, it’s a good excuse for a party. At one point we stopped at a Starbucks (yes, a Starbucks!) to use a Western restroom. Errett waited outside for some time (there was a line and it was unisex) and was spoken to numerous times by passersby: “Merry Christmas!” Two Chinese also thanked us when they learned we were volunteers. As we walked we heard lots of recorded Christmas carols and songs coming from stores all in somewhat accented English. It was an evening to remember.


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