Sue and I both have done White Elephant exchanges in our classrooms in the past week to demonstrate another western Christmas tradition. People brought all sorts of treasures. Peacock feather earrings, faux pearl bracelets, a used train ticket, and some milk-tea were just a few of the items. Once the students got the hang of the game, they traded mercilessly. I brought a chopstick set for one class and a book of puzzles in English that were both hits, and were heavily traded. One present, the used train ticket, was inside no less than 7 boxes, that were all heavily taped and wrapped. I had never heard my class so loud as when they were surprised by yet another box to unwrap! I was sure I would get complaints from the class next door, but I think they are now used to us getting kind of rowdy, especially when we're shouting "Jingle Bells" at the top of our lungs.
Sue took Peter and Jack to class today, so all of the cameras and cell phones came out. When they go to campus they always feel like paparazzi, because you can always here the clicks of cameras and cell phones going off! They helped with her White Elephant exchanges and enjoyed the festive atmosphere, although they were tired of waiting for Sue to 'visit' with everyone.
On Sunday, my department is throwing a Christmas party, with the 5 of us, a couple of administrators, and 125 of my students! It should be interesting, as Chinese parties are not really like western parties, but more like a talent show. One student will do some magic tricks. Another will sing an opera. Yet another will play the piano. We are expected to do something as well, however I'm not sure what yet, but we'll think of something! When we were asked what we would do, I'm sure I had a very concerned look on my face, but being in China is all about improvisation, adaptability and adventure... so here we come!