The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
42Trip End Ongoing
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We have managed to make it feel like Christmas for us, despite our homesickness for all of the typical celebrations and traditions that we usually take part in back in Bend. Last weekend we even made our favorite Christmas cookie, snowballs, in our tiny toaster oven. There have been plenty of festivities at work with the kids, including a Winter Holiday Show that took place at an elegant hotel in Zhuhai
School Programs, or any event that includes parents, are soooooo much different here than they are in the states. The audience is terrible. Every time. The Chinese have no concept of how to be a good audience. They talk, they eat, they stand up, and they push past the blocked off areas so that they can take photos and film wherever they please. Cell phones are not silenced. Conversations on cell phones are not hushed. If your kid isn't performing then the attitude is, why should I be quiet? The Chinese parents also feel strongly that their children can't get through an hour and a half performance without food and drinks. Parents were up in the student section hand feeding their children yogurt and holding water bottles up to their mouths like they were marathon runners. It gets better, or worse, depending on how you look at it. Some parents filled plates with cookies and brownies from the dessert buffet that was waiting in the back of the room for the social after the performance and passed those up to their kids! You think that didn't cause a little commotion among a bunch of ancy children under the age of 6? One Chinese student in Peter's class managed to sneak away and came back with a plate that had 4 on it. Luckily, Mr. Hoover was able to take charge in that situation. But as for the rest of them, what do you do? You can't reprimand the parents!!??
Even as we have grown accustomed to living in China, some things still just amaze us
The taxi driving, however, we have really adapted to. If our driver isn't honking at slow people to get out of the way and passing illegally in the other lane to make the green light then we wonder what is wrong with him. A book that both of us have read since we got here summed it up perfectly:
"Noise was even more impressive. Most of it came from car horns, and it is difficult to explain how constant this sound was. I can start by saying: Drivers in China honked a lot...they were always passing each other in a mad rush to get to wherever they were going....They honked at other cars, and they honked at pedestrians. They honked whenever they passed somebody, or whenever they were being passed themselves. They honked when nobody was passing but somebody might be considering it, or when the road was empty and there was nobody to pass but the thought of passing or being passed had just passed through the driver's mind. Just like that, an unthinking reflex: the driver honked. They did it so often that they didn't even feel the contact point beneath their fingers, and the other drivers and pedestrians were so familiar with the sound that they essentially didn't hear it. Nobody reacted to horns anymore; they served no purpose. A honk in China is like the tree falling in the forest - for all intents and purposes it was silent."
So now we are off for our 3 week winter vacation! We can't go back to Oregon, much to our sadness, but we will make up for it with two trips. One inside China and one to Vietnam. Christmas at the beach will have to do! Much love to all and Merry Christmas!!