The 23rd of December was the last day of teaching and the beginning of the Christmas weekend. I think my first Christmas in Beijing was more or less similar to a Christmas in Jamaica…if you look at the concepts rather than the actual activities. I spent it shopping, socializing with friends, going to church and studying…OK maybe the last one isn’t so normal. Here’s a rundown of how I spent my first Christmas in Beijing, 2011.
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Went to my last 2 classes for the semester (Grammar and Conversation). To be honest, I overslept and missed the 1st class, but made it to the 2nd class at 10:00 AM. We watched a really interesting movie about a very poor old man who was a master of changing masks in 1920’s Sichuan, China. He wanted a grandson in order to pass down his skills, so he adopted what he thought was a boy, but it actually turned out to be a girl. When he found out she was a girl, he stopped treating her like family and more like a maid. A whole series of events follow where he gets thrown into jail for kidnapping, but in the end he realizes the value of the little girl and they become like family.
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Went back to my room to eat lunch, go online and chat with friends for awhile.
3:30 – 11:00 PM
Went with 2 friends, Maria and Cynthia to Dawanglu Market. Maria wanted Christmas decorations and Cynthia wanted pots. I was just along for the ride but I did end up buying an eraser for my exam on Monday. We got to the market a bit late, so by 5 o’clock everything was closing. The Dawanglu Market is exactly what I think of when I think Chinese Market, they have everything and I mean everything. The pets for sale were the most fascinating. They had hamsters, kittens, turtles, puppies, rabbits, fishes and birds. I felt really bad for the warm blooded animals because they were obviously cold, so they kept huddling close together and I just kept wondering what happens to the poor animals if they don’t get sold. Later I went to look for some ingredients to make food for my party the next day, but I couldn’t find everything, which meant I would have to get the ingredients the next day.
SATURDAY (Christmas Eve)
Bought ingredients to make curried chicken for the party in the evening.
Went to my friend’s (Thula, Maria and Andrea) apartment to cook.
3:00 PM – 12:00 PM
Celebrate my birthday with friends, although my birthday was not until the next day.
1:00 AM – 2:45 AM
SUNDAY (Christmas Day)
7:00 AM – 8:30 AM
Skype my mother
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Goy ready for church
Went to the subway station to meet Thula and Cynthia for church.
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Got to church where we sang Christmas songs in Chinese and English, and they had a choir and a dance solo. After church I met the Jamaican Ambassador (Courtney Rattray) and his family. They were at the same service.
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Ate lunch/dinner at Kro’s Nest, a pizza restaurant, then headed back to school.
4:00PM – 6:00 PM
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Had Turkish coffee with my roommate, and she read my “future” in the coffee grounds
6:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Study/Went online/Talked to roommate
…and that’s how I spent my first Christmas in Beijing, China.