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Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas in China 

Last night I went to the Bridge Cafe for a Christmas dinner. I don't generally go to this dinner, because it is quite expensive. It's not that easy for a restaurant in China to provide a traditional American Christmas dinner, so the cost is quite a bit more than the same meal would be in the States, and about ten times as much as a reasonably similar meal in China. Sorta like trying to get Chinese food in the US. This year, however, Nell decided to invite me because I have been a customer of the coffee bar for so long. I have been in China nearly seven years now, and I have been studying at the Bridge Cafe for almost that long.

After the dinner, Jacky and Melissa and Betsy wanted to stop by and visit me. Their small house church had a Christmas party, and they came by after that was finished. Christmas Eve in China is very much a church thing rather than a family thing. When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was for family, and then Christmas Day there was often a church service. Since China is not a Christian country, families don't really celebrate Christmas. But Christmas has gradually become an international festival, so it exists in come form in practically ever society. In China, Christmas Eve is called 平安夜 (ping an ye), which means, literally, "peaceful evening." For most people, it's considered an excuse to go out to dinner at a nice restaurant. So restaurants are open a little later then usual, and there is a more or less festive atmosphere.

Christmas Day. Most years I have had a Christmas party in my apartment on Christmas Day, but this year I moved out to Fragrant Hills, and the tiny place I rented is not really big enough for that sort of thing. I had thought of holding it in a coffee bar or something, because I have done that before. But I found out that Rosie had organized a cooperative Christmas party in her office building. It was a joint party for several Bible study groups, and she invited us to join, so I decided it would be a good idea. It turned out really well. She had contracted with the cafeteria in the basement of her building to prepare a dinner for us, and then we each bought dinner tickets for 30 RMB. It's a lot of work to set something like that up, and I was quite impressed with how well it went.

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