Saturday, December 24, 2005

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

I faltered in my Christmas postings, but I'm making up for it in spades.

It snowed today, and I mean really snowed. Up until now, I hadn't really seen a flake. It seemed more that it got cold and a heavy layer of frost materialized upon the surfaces of Harbin. But today brought snow. Christmas Eve brought snow. This is bigger than big for me. This is huge. Bowlful of jelly huge.

I started the day with the littlest of my little childrens, my Go-Go class. Usually I dread these munchkins, but today I couldn't stop laughing with them. We made stockings out of paper and during the mid-class break I snuck gifts of pencils and pig-shaped erasers in while they were not looking. The response was wild. The second half of class was all "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Jingle Bells." Normally these carols would ring the crazy right into me, but today the choreography my TA had arranged was just too damn cute. And that little racist kid I've mentioned (bless his heart) just kept prancing around like a ballerina.

In the afternoon, with my pre-teens, we did a "Night Before Christmas" mad-lib and wrote letters to Santa. Many of those kids wanted AK-47s, one wanted a magic broom like Harry Potter's, and the girls just wanted the boys to shut up. The night, and its advanced class, consisted of "A Christmas Carol" (well, the Mickey version), "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and finally, "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

But the real fun begins now.

No one made any plans to exchange gifts. Even the girlfriends/boyfriends agreed not to buy each other any thing, or if they did, it was a joint effort and resulted in toaster ovens or sweaters for dogs. I'm the guy who rejected Secret Santa. I'm the guy whos been running around like a headless chicken for the past week. I'm also the guy who has a bagful of gifts for everyone at my feet.

In an hour I'm sneaking back into my school with said bagful of gifts and a Christmas tree. We don't have a Christmas tree in our school, at least not a proper one. So I'm bringing mine in. Shall be glorious. I've got teddy bears and candy for all the Chinese girls, handpicked gifts for my fellow foreigners, and finally cookies and treats to spread out all around.

That not enough? Well, I made a big deal about leaving cookies out for Santa in our lobby. I stood guard and scolded any kid who dared touch the precious baked goods. "Thems be Santa's cookies," sez I, "and ye best leave them be!"

Want more? I've composed a poem that I'll be sending from an anonymous account later tonight. In true Bill fashion, no one will really understand it until they see the decked out hall I'll be leaving for the morning surprise. Then it will all click.

I'm exceptionally excited. I've been a kid at Christmas before, but this is the first time I've ever really played Santa. I got to tell you, right now, it feels like a much greater high. I envy those Santas who graced this child's eyes with Christmas Day surprises like 1988's Nintendo Entertainment System. Dollars to donuts I can get that particular Mrs. Claus to cry when I give the old Byfield outpost of the North Pole workshop a call tomorrow.

But now the magic hour approaches, and before this here Santa boards his slay his must check upon his Christmas Chili and down a bit more of his Christmas Spirit (yes, Aunt K, I am enjoying my Dewars). When it's all said and done I'll be setting to my traditional Christmas Eve emailing. When I wake up tomorrow I'll be back in the fray of 8 hours of teaching, but it won't be so bad. I'll know that that while I'll be teaching the entire morning, back in Byfield there will be the usual monstrous festivity on 1 Johnson Lane. How I wish I could be there. But, while I can't: to the Robinsons, the Stoehrs, the Galinos, the Boisverts, the Marinos and all of Byfield; to the Kearns, the Burkes, the Weiss' (yes, I know you're Jewish), the Dwyers, the Wintermantels, the Norwoods, the Cooneys, the Chiltons, the Mrazics, the Byrnetts, the Gerardens, the Ayers, the Bergs, the Storys, the Bunnetts, the Flathers, and all Phillipians and Hoyas; to the BALers, to the Sunshiners (let them be Chinese, Canadian, Australian, or American); to Aunt Kaethe and all the O'Neil aunts, uncles, and cousins; and especially to Kodak, Allie, Quinn, Brendan, Mom, and Dad:

Merry Christmas!


At 6:11 PM, Blogger Canadian said...

Oh,My God! It is true.The cynical Grinch's heart grew three sizes time two.Way to go,Bill.Have fun and a very Merry Christmas.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger gerardek said...


Thanks for the Christmas wishes. I've spent the last week's worth of downtime at work (you know that's a lot) catching up on the blog. Sounds like an amazing time. My brother had a similarly amazing adventure this summer, albeit one in the States rather than abroad. I was lucky enough to join him for a couple of great weeks. I'm not sure whether I ever sent you the link, but in case I didn't: That's a journal of 4,000+ miles on a bike (we did about 1000 together).

Anyway, you obviously are enjoying yourself, and I hope that continues for you. I look forward to catching up in person someday.



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