When we interviewed for our Taiwan job last Christmas, they told us that Christmas isn’t that big a deal here and that we’d be working on Christmas Day. That’s what we were expecting. But Mingdaw rescheduled our classes so we wouldn’t have to teach today. He didn’t have to do that, and we’re glad for the break.
It seems like most people don’t observe Christmas at all, though the MRT (subway) was so packed Christmas Eve that Joel actually couldn’t reach the camera in his pocket to take a picture (lots of parties/dinners out, we guess). And for the people that do observe it, it seems more like a one day thing, rather than a whole season. But the church where we do the English class on Sundays makes a huge deal out of Christmas. They put on a Christmas program at a local community centre on the 23rd, and then another program at church on Christmas Eve. Lots of people put a lot of work into it. They let Joel play with the band, our English class sang two songs in English, and we sang an English song. There was a Christmas Pageant (with very cute little sheep), lots of music and singing, ribbon dancing, candle light, and even some caroling.
After the English class sang, the MC made two of the students say some stuff in English on the stage. After our song, he got us to try and say some things in Chinese. Jessica went first, and used up most of what we know to say that fits such occasions, and Joel was left trying to make stuff up. But it was lots of fun for us and everyone laughed, and we probably made our English students feel better!
Jessica is making Mexican food for Christmas dinner, since we’re sort of Mexican food deprived over here. For the next two days we’re hibernating and trying to get over our bad colds before the weekend, when we take a long awaited trip to Hualien with some friends.
You can see lots of photos from the Christmas shows here.