Christmas eve was a pretty fun day, we got our hair done and went shopping (I actually think this is the first time I’ve done Christmas shopping on the 24th). We had lunch at the Thai restaurant with the buxiban teachers, which was also a lot of fun! That sneaky Robert paid for the whole thing without us even knowing… these Taiwanese people, they have it down to an art! We had supper at Amy Lin’s which was great as per usual, there were a bunch of other families coming and going as they had to leave for different time to prepare for the Christmas Eve program. We also ate the famous Beijing (or Peking) Duck, which is one traditional Christmas dish someone said. The Christmas eve service was quite fun, we got to see everyone we knew, and there were a ton of little performances. Our landlords did a drama that we have watched them practice for awhile now.
On Christmas morning we went for breakfast and then came back to open presents.
Peggy gave us these beautiful file holders that she made (like an accordion file, they are too gorgeous to describe, I’ll have to take a picture! She DID major in fashion design in university lol it shows! We also received cards and a stocking full (and I mean full) of chocolate from our students at Yuli Jr. High! When it’s all added up, I’m sure I have enough chocolate to last me the next year! Sabrina a teacher from San Min gave us these beautiful necklaces made of “secret stone” not really sure what that is, but they are really unique and beautiful! And more chocolate! Hope and Amy filled my stocking with all sorts of fun stuff, including chocolate and a princess wand (from Hope) it’s really cute! I’m trying to think of a way to use it in one of my classes lol. Amy had brought down a ton of stuff for us that we had asked for (baking stuff and other fun groceries we can’t find in Yuli, including, but not limited to: vanilla, salsa, cake mixes, chocolate chips, cornbread mix, and pudding mix) but wrapped them all! We had tons of gifts under our tree! Add those to the gifts from our families and we were able to spend quite a bit of time opening presents. A couple of friends from Taipei also got us gifts which was really sweet and also unexpected! One of those was subway subs that Amy brought down on the train! Mmmmm Hope also very sneakily got me a cd when we were in Hualien a few weeks ago! I was quite impressed with her when I found out lol. I wasn’t really even thinking about Christmas then, well except for the cool things I bought Tammy, but that’s more like a package since I’m not sending it for Christmas. I got fun gifts from each person in my family, but my favourite (mom you never cease to amaze me with your creativity and crafty-ness) is this little book that Mom made for me and had a ton of people I know write little messages! I almost cried as I was reading it! It is really really special! I also had to explain Canadian Tire money to Hope and Amy LOL.
I found out when I chatted with my mom that the poor Abeitkoff girls didn’t even know I was gone!! How sad…. Maybe if they had working email accounts and didn’t disappear off the face of the earth! Well I guess it probably seems like I’m the one that did that! And Johnny was over to visit my family! What a guy, I miss the Christmas reunions we always have! It’s one of the only times I can see all these friends from high school!
Anyways, I brought a gift over for my friend Esther who sadly had to work at the church today… man the church is the worst slave driver lol… many of my friends can probably testify to that… (Court are you out there?) And was able to invite her to lunch!! We had Christmas curry… LOL unfortunately we couldn’t find red peppers to make it an especially festive dish, but it was good. This maybe be my first turkey-less Christmas ever! We did make stuffing though mmm.. and Hope made this AMAZING Kaluha chocolate cake, mmmmmm. We had our other friend Ariel over for supper, since her plans were cancelled last minute and she ended up having to stay here for the weekend. We watched what was supposed to be “A Charlie Brown Christmas” but most definitely wasn’t! It was cute anyways. Esther brought us a healthy gift of chocolate covered cherries and a stocking full of apples! It’s really cute!
We went over to the Su’s to bring them our gifts and carolled for them a little (which I would later regret lol). On Sunday morning we went to church, which was ok… I definitely would have liked to sing more traditional Christmas songs. Afterward they had this huge banquet with so much food it wouldn’t fit on our tables. Shortly after we sat down, while our buxiban friends started to sing a couple of numbers for the crowd (and it was a really big crowd) on this stage up front, Dr. Su came and informed us that we were next. I was not too impressed. I must admit I was thinking some very unchristian thoughts at that moment.. Anyways, we sang a couple of Christmas songs lol and all three missed the one high note in Silent Night… which made me almost start laughing… ah well, not like we had been ardently practicing for this performance in advance :S
So in all, this was a blessed Christmas. Even though there were moments of sadness at being so far away from the people I love the most, God has been faithful to let me feel those but to surround me with love and opportunities to love others.