I started this post a few days ago and I have a bunch of stuff to cover so I'm sorry if the tenses sound weird and it'll probably be long...
Monday night was the Christmas dinner with the foreign teachers. We ate at a place called the Tang Dynasty restaurant. It was a super fancy kind of place. We had our own huge room with a TV for karaoke, big couches and even a baby grand piano. On a higher platform was the usual round dinner table. We also had our own bathrooms (male and female) and a coat room!
The dinner was amazing. There was beer and red wine to drink. There were a few starter dishes and then tons of dinner dishes. One strange one that was a first for me was snake. I felt a little guilty eating snake since I've had a pet snake before, but it was REALLY REALLY good. It was cooked very crispy with this kind of seasoning mixture you could sprinkle on top. It tasted like a chicken-fish hybrid and was very tasty. It was interesting to eat because snakes are basically nothing but tons of rib bones and a spine. The fun part was after I ate all the meat off of a piece, I could make the spine wiggle just the way a live snake moves. (Is that too much information? Does that weird people out? I am a bad judge of what is too weird or gross...)
There was so much food I can't remember it all. There was this lobster and noodle dish which was a hit. There was this glutinous crab rice, lobster congee, salmon, a delicious fish (I have no idea what kinda it was), goose wing, duck, this crispy fried thing with a kind of pork filling ... There were also some desserts including this mango pudding thing served in a shot glass.
All in all it was a nice evening and I also got my first ever Christmas bonus. Whee! I decided to treat myself to a trip to Harbin in January. I already bought the plane tickets and now I just need to find a good hotel. I've wanted to go to the ice festival since I first heard about it in college. Now I get my chance! I'm a littler nervous about how cold it will be and also about traveling in China by myself for the first time (well...on a plane). Ah well...I'm sure it will be awesome.
Christmas Eve I was at Lucy's apartment for the first time. It was so sweet of her to have a get together on Christmas Eve. It was also the first time I ever had home cooked Chinese food made by a real Chinese person. Haha! She made a bunch of different dishes like mushroom and beef and potatoes with peppers and pork and shrimp...it was all delicious. K.C. and Audrey (two friends of her's) were also there. We made some home made sangria that turned out pretty yummy. We also had a dessert of rice ball congee and then some ice cream. And then there was dancing! It was a lot of fun.
On Christmas day I sneaked into the office extra early and left Christmas presents for everyone in my office. I bought a bunch of really pretty coffee mugs and filled them with a bunch of candy, tea, a candy cane and a red pen (cuz they're teachers!). My students told me that cups are good presents because it means you are full of love for that person.
After that (and a short nap) I had a webchat with my parents. I opened up the present they sent me while talking to them. I miss them a bunch but it was good to talk to them on Christmas.
On Christmas night, Ned, another foreign teacher, and I organized a party. I bought some cheese and meats and crackers and nuts for snacks and he brought wine, beer and pizza. Annnnd...one person showed up. Wow. Well, some of the other foreign teachers were on vacation and to be fair we did only let people know on TUESDAY that it was on THURSDAY so people already had plans. Oh well. It was a good excuse to completely clean my apartment. And I got some pizza and beer out of the deal. :-) It was a little weird spending Christmas with two coworkers, with me being the youngest person there by 26 years...but at least I wasn't alone and I did have a pretty good time.
Next week there is a Christmas/Winter/New Year show and I am going to be in two performances. One is done by the students from Class 1 and I am being the voice over for one of the characters. I have 4 lines, two of which are in Chinese. Should be interesting. Also, I am doing a performance with a bunch of teachers from my department. I told them I could play guitar and somehow that turned into me playing "Dui mian de nu hai kan gou lai", a song I sang in high school. It's about a guy who is upset because this girl won't pay attention to him. I am going to play guitar and sing it while all of the teachers from my office and the IB director walk past me and ignore me or diss me. I'm rather amused by this idea. Hopefully I will be able to get it on video so that those of you from home can laugh at me. I keep practicing and practicing because I don't want to make a fool of myself. I want it to be funny because of the acting, not because my Chinese singing sucks. Oh well. Wish me luck.
I think that's all for now. I can't believe Christmas has come and gone. It's rather unreal. Today I've been cleaning up from the "party" and trying to catch up on stuff. Tomorrow I am going to Suzhou with Charlotte. Hopefully that will be fun.
Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely holiday season.
Hugs and misses!