Not very Christmasy Christmas

Christmas this year is rather unique.

On the Christmas Eve I decided to go to the Catholic church I found two days before. Once I got to the church, I noticed that people were gathering in front of the church. There, children were performing. I saw little kids dressed in monkey costumes dancing. First I thought, maybe this is somehow related to Jesus’ story because His birth took in a Southern part of the world, in warm climate, but then all of the rest of the performances were just that – some sort of performances – women dancing with lanterns, kids doing some moves, other women performing with some sort of fans.

Later the mass started. The church is rather tiny and, even though the city I am residing is considered to be really small in China’s standards (only 500 000 pp), because it was Christmas Eve it was overloaded. Everyone was standing shoulder to shoulder, some people were even gathering outside.

While being there – one thought struck me – how much people pay attention to the way we look. People kept turning back and looking at me – I am much taller than the average Asian women, my features are different. Yet, I am the same as them – the same feelings, the same troubles, the same desires and joys. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable to be there. Some attention is good, but not from the people I don’t know and not from every third person. Good for me – it was a positive attention. It made me wonder about the people who are born with some visual defects or do not fit in the society’s standards. Inside I don’t feel in any way different – superior or worse than the people here, yet, I am perceived differently and judged. I guess now I will be able to understand better how people with disabilities feel.

The amount of attention makes me want to cover myself. A good thing about the high levels of pollution is that I can wear a mask and then it seems that I can blend in. Especially if I put my hoodie on.

My Christmas morning started with a heavy smog. It was hard to see much in the distance. I felt like I was in a movie – some surreal place and that someone else was there instead of me. As a matter of fact, that’s how I often feel here – like all of this is some sort of a dream and that the real life has stopped. But Facebook reminds me that life is happening at home too even when I am not there. I have to admit – it hurts. Very much. I would love to be involved in the lives of my family, of my friends. Most of the time I don’t think about it – I am immersed in learning about Chinese culture, but sometimes I dream of being back at home, I dream being back at LCC – sharing joyful and sorrowful moments with those that I care about.

On the one hand, I am slowly falling in love with China – it’s food is fascinating, living conditions are great, culture is rich, people are friendly. I believe it is possible to find a great community here – those who choose to come to China are extremely adventurous. While some might be attracted to the low cost of living, others come because of China’s fascinating culture. On the other hand, it is becoming clearer and clearer to me that I can’t stay here for long – no future. I am already 25 and I should be thinking where I want to invest myself in, who I want to invest myself in…

Anyway… On Christmas day, I had lunch with my colleague and we just talked about life, families and conflicts. I wish I was born in a perfect family with both parents, but I guess there are reasons for why things are the way they are.

Well, let’s get back to Christmas. The evening was rather interesting. I went to a pre-wedding party. It was super fun. Especially because I was around the people of my age, even if their English was super poor. We hung loads of balloons and afterwards went to a four-star restaurant for dinner. The food was bountiful. (A side note: as for four-star restaurant that was lavishly decorated – my plate was chipped and there was no paper in the toilet – Chinese standards permeates even restaurant rankings).

The next day was the wedding. And that was an event! If I have time I will write about it later. But I will just say – it was an interesting experience.

Also, for the wedding, my friend took me to a hair salon. What an experience! I loved it. We came in a buzzing place with lots of stylish hairdressers. We put our coats in a locker and then we were taken to the hair washing procedure. I loved their hair conditioner – I could smell it for two days:)) After that we were sat in front of the mirror while the person brushed, trimmed and dried the hair. So lovely! It does not sound like an extremely different experience, but I just loved it. So good!

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