Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Its six o’clock in the evening on Christmas eve. I’m chewing on a wedge of cheese from a partial wheel a friend gave me when they left to go back to the US for the holidays, and I decided that it was time to write another blog.

You know how at every holiday there are kind of two sets of feelings? The commercial feeling with all the fake decorations, and then that secondary feeling that you can’t really explain. The feeling where everyone starts to anticipate the holiday, people start drinking and eating holiday type stuff, doing holiday type activities... Here in Zhengzhou, we only get the commercial side. Chinese people have partially picked up Christmas just as a commercial holiday. So we have Christmas decorations in the malls, large kitschy displays of presents staked outside malls, red plastered everywhere, and the occasional Christmas lights outside of hotels... But there is nothing in the way of life that is really changed. I know its not a holiday for the Chinese really, but it seriously changes the feeling of the time. December 24th seems like just another day really. A day full of traffic, old women spitting loudly, and a brisk wind that has found its way to our middle kingdom.

I think this feels significant to me for a reason. Christmas is by no means my favourite holiday. I do however like the season that surrounds it. I think I like the build up to christmas quite a bit more than the actual day. It creates a sense of unity for society, even if they don’t want to be unified. Im not saying its one of those “heal the world” moments (curse you Michael Jackson) where everyone forgets their anger and hatred... if anything, the anger level goes up ^_^ - But I think everyone DOES in some way get into their own version of the christmas spirit. Everyone has some kind of purpose. Aside from those unfortunate enough to have a deficiency of friends, or to be stranded from their friends etc. everyone has a way to “be a part”. Particularly for those of us who are just so stinking independent, I think the Christmas season gives us all a way to be different, but at the same time on the same plane. We are all looking for something to guide and connect our lives to something else, and the Christmas holiday gives us a few weeks of direction. Everything sort of points to christmas, regardless of your view on what the day is actually supposed to celebrate.

Here though - its a commercial holiday that is only appreciated for the novelty of being a ‘western’ holiday.

I suppose its a trade, because spring festival (two months away) is quite the affair, but...

All I have is an empty ‘but’ to follow that statement.

I think what I miss most in this journey of independence is the chance to really express how much I love those who have been there for me in the past. Friends and family alike.

For the last year I’ve been on the road to figure out what I can add to this stew of life.

From the time I thought about leaving, I felt that for me to be able to be a part of adding my own unique flavour, I need to spend a significant time apart from the context that I am used to. By taking myself “out of context” I think that will help my “me” or as they say in the new Alice in Wonderland “my muchness.” I think that when peoples’ worlds get shaken up they start necessarily change. That process of change is what I think exposes people for what they really are. Thats what i’ve been hoping to accomplish. I’m in the thick of that process myself.

The practical side of that ‘boring’ bit of theory is that, I want to add more. I am constantly invigorated by the idea of a world of many cultures, and many individuals, and everything that goes with that. I like the synergy, I like the clash. I like having my cake and eating it to.

But right now, in order to help make that happen, I’m missing out on my cake. No... not christmas presents - I’ve had incredibly considerate friends and family send me things ^_^. But I don’t have the chance to go and spend this time with people.

This year I will have to pass up on many cups of coffee, bottles of wine, and naps with a dog next to a fireside.

You know what they say, you don’t know what you had until it is gone. And its true.

Do I regret going on my self imposed exile, or not going home? Absolutely not. But it is difficult, and I look forward to the chance when I get to be a thoroughly contributing part of the time that we spend together.

Anticlimactic. (Christmas Evening)

I tried to pep myself into Christmasdom in a variety of ways. Lots of christmas carols, little oranges with whole cloves puncturing them in delightful patterns. Cinnamon sticks. A blow up doll of santa that my kinky friend from South Carolina sent me (o.O) Candy canes.

But nay - the season forthwith was not “the season” without a commitment to it by the community at large! which goes to say, that if you even remotely love Tinkerbell, you sure as hell better be one of those people who is on the edge of your seat muttering “I do believe in fairies” and clapping till your palms sting. I myself being a terrifyingly independent person in many ways, even I need to recognize that there are times where it is good to be a part of the crowd. The Christmas season is one of those times.

And a glass of Chilean christmas cheer definitely has its place in my heart... and in my hand... and possibly with association to other parts of my anatomy - particularly my gastronomy.

I spent this evening hanging out in a naturally overcrowded mall with my friends. After getting dinner on the seventh floor, we shopped around. After they left... I proceeded to do “the real shopping” and selected some fine genuine articles.

Merry christmas to you all. And if you’re reading this: I love you.

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