Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lazy Saturday

Bored, just playing around with the webcam...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all. I found this comic today, and it reminded me of some recent Christmas mornings at my house. Probably what will be happening there this morning too (ahem, Andy...) 


Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas, Good Grief!

Christmas is this Thursday. I'm not at all in the Christmas spirit, as was previously touched on. I know I'm not the only one out there who is having a difficult holiday season, and I'm not complaining about it.

I have to work on Christmas Eve, as well as Christmas day. I probably won't see many of my friends on Christmas, and I know I won't see my family. There probably won't be any presents for me besides the ones my mom sent (thanks mom!), and I won't eat turkey, or egg casserole, or drink egg nog, or any of the other activities that I've come to love.

I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon today with some of my students, and I realized how alike Mr. Brown and I are. I too, have a funny looking tree, and everyone around me seems to be buzzing about Christmas without any true meaning behind their words.

But what Charlie and I have is an ability to see the best in a situation. Linus tells Charlie that out of all the Charlie Browns in the world, that he is the "Charlie Browniest." He calls Charlie on being such as sad sack, and turning a wonderful celebration like Christmas into something bleak and depressing. Everyone's got things that they could be depressed about. I do too. But I've also got a lot to be happy about. I've got a job in the midst of an economic crisis. I've got a girlfriend who adores me, and I've got a place to live and food to eat. I have all kinds of distractions like movies and blogs, and I've got pretty decent weather for Christmas week.

I'm looking on the bright side, and I know that once Christmas is over, my situation will be the same. I'm thankful for what I have, and even though the season isn't what it could be, what I want it to be, I can still be positive and focus on the positive. I don't have to be the Charlie Browniest.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra

Christmas decorations are going up here in Taiwan. Trees, lights, giant Santas and snowmen, and candy canes. Fifteen foot reindeers leap out of the facade of a local department store. McDonald's employees wear Santa hats, and those tunes you know so well play from every PA system all the time.

So much attention paid to decorating, and yet it feels nothing at all like the Christmas that I know. It doesn't feel special at all. I understand that the real meaning of the holiday and the atmosphere it creates in places where it is truly revered may be lost in translation to many Taiwanese. I don't expect Western traditions and culture to always carry over to other places. I'm just confused as to why so much effort is put into the visual manifestation of Christmas here in Taiwan. 

I mainly see the decorating and Christmas references in stores and restaurants and places trying to sell me stuff. It seems that Christmas advertising must be  alluring to the average consumer here, since the stores are pretty much unified in their embrace of Christmas imagery. There are even specialty shops popping up that sell ornaments, trees, signs, and other brickabrack. It would seem that the Taiwanese are just as nuts about Christmas as Americans.

And yet when I mention it to any of my students or local friends or coworkers, it seems that they have a good idea of what it is, but no personal ties to it or tradition in celebrating it. I ask kids what they get for Christmas, and most say that they either don't celebrate it, or don't really give or get presents. Apparently the big gift giving holiday is Chinese New Year. Cash is exchanged in red envelopes, and kids and adults go shopping for new clothes or PlayStations or whatever they fancy.

So if the major consumer holiday is CNY, which is a full month after XMAS this year, then why is so much effort put into Christmas related advertising here? Is there a consumer force backing it up, or is is simply a novelty factor? Maybe it's all of the surplus decorations and fake snow and plastic trees making their way across the straight from China. Whatever it is, it's not enough to inspire any warm fuzzy feelings in the cold bones of this foreigner.


Monday, December 8, 2008

More dogs.

My friend Iwen is looking for a home for two more dogs. One is a husky and the other a beagle. If you know anyone who would be interested in adopting one or both of these dogs should contact me, and I'll provide you with details and contact info.

The last dog of hers that I posted about on this blog (Elsa, yellow lab) was sucessfully flown to some friends in Estonia.

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