December is always the most joyous and happiest month of the year but this December feels like any other ordinary month. In China, people don't celebrate Christmas. Being far away from home without any Christmas spirit is a little bit upsetting, mainly because usually you're with family, friends, you have a christmas tree, hear christmas songs, have decorations, lights and the atmosphere around you is just so positive.
It's fine though because even though I didn't have a typical Christmas this year, I went to a Christmas dinner that AFS organized and then I celebrated Christmas Eve with my friend, Ling. Ling studied abroad in the US for a year, last year so her english is very good! She is also applying to colleges in the US!
The AFS dinner was at JingLing Hotel, which is a five-starred hotel and is known to have a very good restaurant. One of the foreign-language school's was hosting an event that night and AFS was also invited to that. All of us went to the hotel to eat dinner and as we walked in our mouths started to water! The food looked absolutely delicious! For once, it wasn't Chinese food and also because it was buffet-style, all you can eat! At the buffet, they also had performances being done on the stage, some people hula-danced (which was funny because they were doing it wrong!), some people sang christmas carols, and the AFS kids went up to sing "Jingle Bells". All in all it was quite fun, and the food was so good! AFS also gave us a Christmas card and Christmas present, which included a stuffed animal, and a bunch of snacks! Yum! haha
On Christmas Eve, Ling and I went out to Xin Jie Kou. Even though most people don't celebrate Christmas, a lot of people go out because there are sales, and Chinese people go quite crazy when things are on sale! When my host mom said that it was going to be really crowded I wasn't expecting as many people as I saw...but then again, I should have kept in mind that China has a LOT of people. We went to a couple department stores but it was way too crowded and hot that we left. We went to another mall, which was less crowded and had H&M so we shopped there for quite a while and we ended up buying matching t-shirts :P Afterwards we walked and walked but there were so many people it was hard to get by. Ling and I get along very well so I was glad, we have a bunch of things in common and she is really nice! We had a little dinner "Tian Bu La" which is like fish cakes on a stick dipped in hot sauce, and also got milk tea at Coco.
In Xin Jie Kou there were a bunch of "Santa's". Asian Santa's...not quite the norm but it was really funny because they were all so skiny, their beards were fake and attatched by a rubber band and were made out of cheap cotton, their outfit was made out of....cheap cloth and it was definitely not like the Santa's we see in America! haha, that was really funny!
Awesome Chinese Santa!
SOO MANY PEOPLE!
I spent Christmas day a little sick but skyped my family back home which was nice!
They say the Spring Festival is equivalent to our Christmas and New Years in China, so that'll be exciting and interesting because I never celebrated the Spring Festival before! But for now, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!