Well, holiday time in Taiwan is about half over. During this time, at least this year (2011), Chinese New Year started on February 2, and ends, for the most part, on February 7. Everything will return to normal on February 8.
I now understand how people perceive holidays in different ways. For me, holidays, especially national or seasonal holidays, should be spent with those you love – friends, family. For me, being in Taiwan, these holidays just don’t have the same feeling for me as they do for the Taiwanese people.
It’s the same as Christmas or New Year’s is not the same for the Taiwanese, as it SHOULD be for me. I’ve been in Taiwan, as you know, for over 9 years – going on 10 years. During that time, I have had to accept that the Taiwanese people don’t celebrate MY holidays in the same way as I do. Christmas day, for example, is just another day of the week here. Sure, the schools and bushibans try to ‘do’ Christmas, but it’s just not the same.
For me, Christmas is a time of love, sharing, the giving (and receiving) of gifts, a Christmas tree, snow… Now, I must admit, that the idea of no snow is quite acceptable, but the idea of having to do classes on Christmas Day is very strange. Even after 9 years, I still can’t really accept it.
This year, I did give myself a couple of Christmas gifts. I even got a Christmas gift for the cats. I remember as a young boy, my parents would give a Christmas sock to our cats and dogs. This year, I was able to cash in some VIP points at the pet shop I get supplies for my cats, and get them a ‘tree’. It has four levels, covered in carpeting and rope, and the cats seem to love it.
But back to this holiday…
A couple of my fellow teachers had asked what I was going to do during Chinese New Year. What can I tell them? Nothing?! I don’t have family here, I am not Chinese or Taiwanese, and even though I understand what the season is all about, it is just not part of my culture. So, what do I end up doing? Cleaning the house, catching up on my lesson plans, get ready for the new classes beginning after this holiday, and spending the time at home, alone.
Now, don’t feel sorry about that. I thoroughly enjoy spending time on my own. At any given time, there are always people around you in Taiwan. Whether it be in classes, on the road, shopping… people are everywhere. It is difficult at times to have quiet time on your own.
I also like the idea that, since I am at home, I don’t need to get up early, go to bed when I’m tired, no expectations, no schedule… just spending alone time. Besides, I have the six babies who are constantly at my side. I get the feeling that they kind of like the idea that I’m at home so much as well.
So what did I do today? Nothing. Well, I did decide to have another barbecue this evening. Again, by myself. All my printing for my classes is complete, all the lesson plans are done, and I think I’ve caught up on all the episodes of Golden Girls by now on Justin.TV… haha.
Well, a short entry, but that’s it, that’s all for today.