Monday, December 26, 2011

The Orphan's Christmas

For the first time in 37 years, I was not with my aunts, uncle, cousins, parents, and sisters for Christmas dinner. Nevertheless, I was able to speak with them during a frenetic Skype call and to enjoy turkey, beef, potatoes, and a lot of wonderful rum balls with several of my colleagues and foreign friends in Changchun.

My day began with breakfast at a little hole in the wall that serves baozi. I go here all the time and get a tray like the one pictured for about eighty US cents or five yuan.

In the morning, I went to visit an orphanage. I expected it would be a miserable place, but found a state-of-the-art facility that was extremely tidy. The girls dormitory rooms, where we were shown, all had pink sheets. The girls were in Japanese schoolgirl-style uniforms. I taught them all "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and one of my colleagues told a story. For most of the time, I and a Chinese teacher from my school were with three fourteen year-old girls. They were sweet and full of questions about America. I introduced myself with my Chinese name. We sang a couple songs and played a game with chopsticks and lollipops that was coordinated by some students from Shi Da Fu Zhong, who helped plan this adventure. Apparently, my picture was in the newspaper yesterday.

They played some fun games and listened to a story.

We had an Asian student Santa Claus (aka Saint Nicholas) by the name of Jack.

These girls were 13-14 years old. The one all the way to the left was in my small group.

Beneath the beds were several pairs of Crocs for each girl and several basins for laundry, cold feet, etc.

They each have a little area for drying laundry, which did my heart good! The clothes freeze almost instantly at this time of year.

There was an abundance of over-sized stuffed animals, which is a society-wide phenomena. I am missing the gene that allows me to understand the Chinese affiliation for stuffed animals.

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