Ho Ho Ho (3位/400元)

Happy holidays!

No, really. This time should be happy, not stressful. That's why I took a trip to the bathhouse with some friends. After showering, soaking, playing under the waterfalls, getting a scrubdown, showering again, soaking some more, simply sitting and talking, getting a foot massage (passed on the pedicure), then napping in a warm, dark room.... I awoke this morning oh so content.

Easily the least stressful Christmas so far, but that doesn't mean it's the best, of course. I miss my dear friends and family, and am living in a much colder environment than ever before, but it's nice to be immersed in an alternate culture that doesn't drown you with hyper-consumerism. Here, there's still plenty of consumerism tied to cultural events as well as more superstition than I care for, but there has bever been this sense of urgency for gift-giving. Most celebrations simply involve going to a shared hot-pot dinner, perhaps KTV (karaoke) afterward. Christmas - like Thanksgiving and Halloween before it - will pass casually except for whatever the expat crowd organizes for themselves.

This calm is welcome after years of America's Black Friday madness (how many people got trampled to death this year, I wonder...), constant "Christmas classic" songs on the radio or in every public building with a speaker system, and worrying that a well-intentioned donation to charity will end up being used to oppress minorities. I'd rather just sit around the fireplace, look through a photo-album (Remember those? Much more interesting than tuning the TV to A Christmas Story for the 26th year straight..), and knock back a few gin and tonics while chatting with my family. I sure have a few stories to tell now!

Of course, being the godless commie bastards that we are over here in Red China, I'll be working during Christmas break. Egads! But let's look again at my schedule:
Mon - No class
Tue - 1 class, start at 5:30 PM
Wed - 2 classes, 12:30 PM
Thu - 1 class, 5:10 PM
Fri - 1 class, 5:30 PM
Sat - 4 classes, 8:00 AM
Sun - 3 classes, 10:30 AM

That's every week. Plenty of free time and still paid a princely sum!

Enjoy yourselves and take care!

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