Ping’An Ye 2016

Christmas this year is quite different from last year here in Beijing.  There are more and more wintery Christmas decorations in the stores.  Yesterday, as I was walking home with my very full (and very heavy) water jugs I was surprised by the lights of a very tall Christmas tree – with a STAR at the top!  I can see it from my window, and even in the daylight, unlit – it sparks joy in me.  I want to thank however did this for giving me this tree.  Of all the things I miss, twinkle lights on a Christmas tree is very high on the list.

This year the staff at our school had two Christmas celebrations – one for the foreign teachers and one for the entire staff.  We didn’t have that last year, so this was a lot of fun.  I am also more connected with other people – so my knitting groups in Beijing and Yizhuang, my church and that makes Christmas bigger too.

But what really warms me – last year and this year – is Christmas Eve.  In the past years a newish celebration has begun – where people give apples, wrapped in beautiful boxes to the people they care about.  The Mandarin word for apple is very close to the word for peace, differing only in tone.  So on this silent and holy night – people give each other apples.   This year our school gifted each teacher with a BIG box of beautiful apples.  I am looking forward to enjoying them in my porridge for a long time!

But to enjoy this in Chinese, please visit this site.  I am listening as I write, and it is making me smile and cry at the same time!

Last year I got my hair cut on Christmas day (it was a working day and I celebrated on Canadian time!)  This year it is on Sunday, so today is the day for the hair cut.  Last year there were terrorist threats and we had to put our belongings through scanners just to get into the building.  This year we will have a celebration on Christmas day, which also gives me joy.  I will have lunch with my friend from the Netherlands and we will enjoy a concert in the afternoon.  At night I will once again enjoy Christmas morning via video calling!

I wish you all a wonderful Holy Day season and may God, our Creator and Saviour be with you all.

Marcia

About Marcia Stehouwer

I have a great life (most days) and a small budget, so being frugal is one of my favourite hobbies. I started this blog after procrastinating for 3 months, on April Fool's Day. I knit, I read, I knit, I work... I am also about a quarter of the way through my goal to lose 100 pounds. So between knitting, working, reading etc., I also do some walking! EDIT: 2021. I am not closer to my weight goal, but moving forward. The budget is still small. We are renting our homestead and progressing towards our family dream!
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