No Christmas vacation here, but on the contrary, school has been keeping me quite busy, for our Christmas show is coming up. Yes, another performance. While exhausting, I don't mind the work, for at least it's keeping me in the holiday spirit with all the preparations and decorations we have been doing in the classroom.
This time of year is probably toughest for all the foreigners who have to spend the holiday season away from home, not excluding myself. While homesickness might not have hit me as hard as some of the others, I still find myself getting wrapped up in the nostalgia of Christmas past and reminiscing on all the holiday activities I usually find myself involved in.
Since Christmas is not a Taiwanese holiday, it really isn't a big deal here, hence the lack of the warm and cozy Christmas atmosphere. Still, I'm not going to let that stop me from enjoying my favorite holiday. So what do you do when there's no atmosphere? You create it! I have dragged home and decorated a little Christmas tree, hung up Christmas lights in my room, went Christmas shopping, wrote and sent Christmas cards, and have been playing Christmas songs from my computer and singing along every chance I get. I have even gone to scope out places with the most Christmas lights and Christmas trees to take pictures of. Some of my co-workers have asked me to join in their Secret Santa gift exchange, which I am more than happy to take part in. All these little things somewhat help bring out that "warm and fuzzy" feeling I always get during this time of the year. It also helps knowing that our county director will be hosting a Christmas party for all the foreign teachers the evening of December 25th, and will also excuse us from half a day of work that day so that we can get ready for the party. It's really not as bad as I'd thought it would be.
Nevertheless, there are still quite a few things I do miss comes the holiday season. So here's a brief list.
What I do miss:
- Heater! (While the temperature isn't necessarily lower, it sure feels a lot colder here due to the humidity and the lack of heating)
- Continuous Christmas songs on the radio
- Christmas classics playing on TV
- Christmas vacation
- Candy canes (believe it or not, it is near impossible to find any candy canes here, even if I go to more westernized supemarkets)
- Seeing Christmas lights everywhere
- Surprise visit from my Aunt and cousins
- Baking holiday sweets
- Putting up Christmas tree and lights with my parents
- Wrapping presents, writing Christmas cards besides my Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music and sipping hot chocolate (actually, I guess I can still do that here)
What I don't miss:
- Cramming for final exams
- Traffic jams
- Houston's crazy weather mood swings
- Blowing holes in my wallet from Christmas shopping
Anyway, I wish everyone a delightful Christmas and New Year. Regardless of where you are, whether you are warm and snuggly besides your loved ones, or out on an adventure in a different land, make this holiday season a special one with memories to keep a lifetime!
Mini Christmas tree and lights in my room