Oh Christmas. Yesterday riding my bicycle home from work I almost crashed into a noodle stand. In the bus station parking lot I saw 6 bus drivers standing around smoking cigarettes. They were bare headed (it was about 73 degrees) and wearing Santa suits. Just the suit. No stuffing. None of them had the traditional "jolly" body type like our bus drivers in the states. Business are getting all decked out for Christmas. I am the official Western Christmas consultant at both branches of my school. They ask me questions about color and arts and crafts projects. I told them the traditional colors are red, green, silver, gold and white. I told them we should have the children make Christmas cards for their parents.
They have decided to decorate for Christmas in pink and purple and blue.
Now, having known my fair share of Italians in the states, I am familiar with the occasional blue Christmas tree but I think that is ok from a culture that has been doing the red and green thing for centuries. But to just skip the red and green and go strait to pink isn't kosher. By the way, no Menora's in sight. Any of my Jewish friends thinking of coming here during Hannuka, bring your own.
I offered to help with the company Christmas party that is on this Saturday.
Last night Teacher Michelle came to me with the details.
"Teacher Helen! Christmas party!
Our party is 17:30 end 19:30.
You and Teacher Tina. Sing."
Then she produced a slip of paper full of chinese writing. It looked a little like the outline of the basement where the classrooms are.
"Here are students. 17:30 you go to classroom B02. Put Santa santa ..."
"OK, then I go and sing?"
"No. Big box and you sit 10 minutes. until 17:39. No talking. then..."
She drew a picture of a box on top of a hand cart.
"Teacher Tina pull you"
She draws a path on the map from the classroom to the center of the room where the students are gathered.
"Pop! come out and sing! Santa cr...co to Town! Teach everyone the song"
"Ok, so I go to the basement, dress up as santa, get in a box, sit for ten minutes, pop and sing 'Santa Clause is Coming to Town....and then?"
"Then stand in the back. We will all sing. for 75 minutes. Then you take photos with students."
(And there is no egg nog at these parties!)