A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!
Apologies for the delay between this post and the last, we’ve been busy working over Christmas and then been busy not working at all over the New Year! I thought I’d share a few things we did on Christmas and over New Year for those of you who haven’t experienced the festive season in South East Asia…
Not realizing that it is an optional holiday for Native Speaking Teachers (our manager didn’t exactly make the fact obvious)… we worked on Christmas day. BUT! this was not the doom and gloom that I had previously associated with working on Christmas!
Spending the morning with genuinely excited children is a part of the festive season I hadn’t experienced in a fair while due to my brothers becoming older and wiser. Despite initial trepidation at having Santa hats pulled onto our heads, being with our Kindegarten classes gave Christmas some much needed revitalisation and childhood perspective.Only when we saw a towel being stuffed up a little girls jumper did we realize that we were watching a Mandarin performance of the nativity. A room was filled with cotton wool snow, in which we had a ‘snow’ fight with our class. All the tables were then dragged out into the main hall and all 50 students and us teachers ate Christmas lunch (of chicken nuggets and chips, huh?) together.
After work it was back under the duvet for a midday bottle of wine, exchanging presents, listening to British radio (although eight hours ahead) and later we had Northern Chinese style Hot Pots for dinner with another teacher.
For New Years we managed to successfully take the day off and headed up to Greater Taipei to meet our friends from training, Ryan and Katie. After spending a few hours wandering round a maze-like CarreFour, we took the MRT to Taipei 101 and settled down with six or seven other westerners to enjoy the fireworks and the permissive approach to drinking in public. We had been warned that Taipei 101 would be insanely busy, but we easily managed to secure a fairly perfect spot and at the end of the evening, only had to walk for an extra twenty minutes or so to get safely home.
Little did I know that Auld Lang Syne is a specifically British custom, so the Americans and Taiwanese alike both stared bemusedly at us when the five British teachers crossed hands and started singing. Ryan took a video of the fireworks that gives some idea of what the evening was like, but unfortunately he was holding his small camera sideways on. I’ll try and get it online and re-orientated properly as soon as possible!
Wishing everybody a very happy New Year!