It’s kind of fun to post some pictures from Christmas here in Beijing. Life is so different in so many ways, that even four months into the journey, I am still processing the changes in my life.
I was quite surprised by Chinese Christmas. There were no discussions about “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” – it was Merry Christmas everywhere. For most schools it was business as usual, although those with roots outside of China did have the day off. I chose to teach and wish everyone a Merry Christmas in Chinese! My celebration really began with the Skype call to my daughter, drinking coffee with Bailey’s (a tradition I picked up at their house) and watching them open presents.
Trees are available in Beijing. Some were imported from America, but they were sold out. There were still some available in pots, but I can’t imagine bringing one home on the subway! I was able to get a nice arrangement of cedar branches in floral foam that lasted quite nicely until I took it apart yesterday afternoon. The cedar still has it’s garoma, so I have a jar by the computer to revitalize me every once in a while, and some in my closet to surprise me when I grab my coat!
The boxes in the top picture each contain an apple – and I had several. Christmas Eve is called Ping’an Ye (平安夜) – a Peaceful Night. The word is similar to ping guo (苹果) or apple. So on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day many students brought apples for their teachers. I saved some boxes to bring home so that my family can also enjoy this tradition!
In the midst of Ping’an Ye, there was also danger, as a terrorist alert was posted. I chose to attend church anyways, but it was a disconcerting experience. As we entered all our bags went through a scanner and we were wanded to make sure all was good. I also had to drink my water, so that they would know it really was water! I’m grateful for the safely measures, but it was a reminder that God’s Shalom and world peace are not the same thing.
Happy New Year!