Christmas is only a few more days away. My Christmas card collection continues to grow. It feels like I haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks. Lots of late celebratory nights, special dinners and shopping mixed in with the regular, already busy, flow of events. I like the holiday season, even when I'm in another country, but I'll be glad when it comes to a close.
Went to a Christmas banquet with my coworkers at our school, Haidian Foreign Language Experimental School, hosted by Principal Zhuang, who also informed us that we were the number one private school in Beijing. Aside from the Carden Department, foreign teachers from the "normal" department were also in attendance, although our tables were segregated. Teachers from the Carden department sat with the Principal and two other representatives from the school and the teachers from the "normal" department sat at the other table. It was a fairly typical Chinese banquet, although I can't remember having tried pig kidney before, which was good. All of the foreign teachers received a box of Kinder chocolate and a small stuffed animal, one of the five mascots for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Mine looks like the antelope, named Ying Ying, pictured. Click here to see the rest of the mascots or to read more about the Beijing Olympics.
Afterwards, three of us (Dawn, Warren and myself) carried the mirth to a local bar and, like so many bars here, a cover-band entertained us. The band played a nice mix of Chinese and English songs, as well as a fine rendition of Blue Christmas. I can't remember when I last heard that song, but it seemed somehow appropriate, even though we weren't particularly sad. After a few beers, we parted ways and returned to our apartments.
It looks like we won't get a white Christmas here. I've still got my hopes up. The sky is clear and blue with only a little haze, and we can see the mountains in the West on most days.