Christmas in Asia: It's kind of like Christmas in July, but not.
I know that "down under," Christmas is always sunny and warm, but I've just never been used to that so it has definitely been a big change to be in a tropical place during a time that's supposed to be freezing cold! I thought I'd tell you how we celebrated Christmas last year, and some of the things that are planned and happening this Christmas season...
1. Last year I went to Thailand for Christmas. I visited Sunshine Orchard, another mission school, because some close family friends are working there. It was wonderful in many ways, but one of the best things was that IT WAS COLD! I know, you're probably thinking yeah right. But no, it was in the upper 40s up there in the mountains, and we didn't have a nice fire to warm up to - we slept in a bamboo hut like they always do. Brrr!! But it sure felt more like the right time of the year. :)
We also went caroling. Who knew that you could go door-to-door in an Asian village of bamboo huts and sing Christmas songs? It was awesome. I learned a few Karen tunes and enjoyed getting to know some of the students as we serenaded the neighborhood.
3. My housemate and fellow teacher, Laura (my AFCOE outreach partner back in the good old days), is planning a Christmas program for the dorm kids (both boys and girls). She has had a "store" where the kids can come and pick out a couple gifts for a small fee, for a name they've drawn (most of them are too poor to afford much, and Laura's been saving up random gifts for a few years). So a few days before school finishes and the dorm kids go back to their villages, they will have a gift exchange and a regular Christmas program in the school cafeteria. It will be nice, I'm sure! They are all quite looking forward to it.
4. I've strung up my Christmas lights in my room (just a short strand of battery-powered LED lights), and added a few ornaments and trinkets that make it look pretty. :) (It looks much better in person, of course.)
5. Laura and I are planning to make Christmas food for Christmas. Not sure what yet, but it will be fun to have plenty of time to make yummy stuff that reminds us of home! (This picture is from my Thanksgiving attempt at pumpkin pie for potluck... the remainder didn't last long with these little fellows around!)
20 days till Christmas!