Before the students came over at 5:30 pm, Ramsey and I opened presents and cuddled in our new soft blanket-like pajamas we bought for each other. Ramsey bought me a giant Korean blanket. It's seriously the softest thing ever. He also bought me 10 new outfits, rosetta stone japanese, and korean, a wii, tons of warm tights, 6 pairs of boots and a soft bathrobe. I bought Ramsey the Kinect for the Xbox 360, rosetta stone chinese, 3 pairs of soft pajamas, xbox games, a pair of boxing gloves, muay thai pads, mouth guards, xbox 360 games, a couple of books, muay thai shorts, a sporting cup, and two pairs of church shoes.
This is the first year we could afford to buy so many gifts. For one, we have money this year, but most because two, we shopped a lot on taobao.com which offers unbelievably low prices.
We also had stockings full of candy, peanuts and oranges to keep the tradition from both of our families. We watched the Christmas episode of The Office season 7. =)
Then we started preparations. I bought the Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey to watch. Ramsey started cooking chili. He makes the best chili with a tons of bean variety and I haven't had it the whole time I lived in China. So we found all the ingredients in the import section and made it for our students. We also had roast duck and dumplings.
Our students arrived and we gave them all one present which was a large colorful soft sock. They looked really confused and we laughed. "Where is the other sock Mr. and Mrs. Dewey?" We replied, "You have to match your sock with the other sock on the wall." They didn't understand and so they tried to hang their sock with the other sock and we just laughed and laughed. No, take that one down and keep them both! The other one is filled with candy, peanuts and oranges. They were delighted to get to keep both their socks to make a matching pair. Ramsey and I enjoyed their big bright eyes of wonderment as they experienced their first Christmas stocking.
And then we ate dinner. They absolutely loved the chili. They had seconds and even thirds. We were so shocked because normally Chinese people can't stand American food besides the occasional KFC and Mcdonalds, but they raved about our chili. They loved the whole meal but didn't really understand the movie, because the new Christmas Carol uses the same language as the way Charles Dickens wrote it so it's hard for esl speakers to understand. We paused the movie a lot to explain what was going on. Probably should have stuck with Mickey's Christmas carol. hehe.
Then we gave the students gifts. They had to open one and then another student had a chance to open a new one or steal one from another student. Ramsey and I laughed as our students became quite attached to their presents only to look like they would cry after someone would steal their gift. But by the end, each student got two gifts each and looked pretty pleased with at least one of them. =)
Then we had dessert and headed over to the foot spa. Ramsey told me I was like Oprah because I was giving them all foot massages. He imitated Oprah by saying "And you get a foot massage and you get a foot massage and you get a foot massage...you all get foot massages!!!"
The students also said that we had our roles reversed. In Chinese culture, the woman cooks and the husband plans the activities. Well Ramsey cooked and I planned all the activities. They all laughed giddily at this concept.
What I love about my students is that they are all from the countryside, moving to Shanghai for college. One of them grew up on a farm with chickens. They didn't have a lot growing up. They are the most humble and sweetest students I've ever taught. They have a wide-eyed child-like look of innocence and delight in them. They are so grateful and kept talking about how they had never had a foot massage before and felt like princesses. I'm glad this year I could easily afford it and that I could share the joy of Christmas with a few Chinese citizens.