Friday, December 23, 2011

Home For Christmas

I asked my daughter, Jaime, to guest blog for me today. Many of you have been following her path on this page (the Traveling Teacher blog to the upper right on this site), and have enjoyed her posts. She and I have been looking forward to some plotting and brainstorming, while we sit in the hot tub, look at the stars, and contemplate the meaning of life.

There are many things I'm thankful for this year. Looming huge among them is the fact that she is home for the next few weeks, safe and sound. Her journey in China has at times been hard for a mother to hear, and like so many of our best experiences in life, laced with the good as well as the bad. I've had my own gratitude for the watchful eyes and loving guidance of her Guardian angels. And that my prayers have been listened to, and answered.

One of the other things I'm thankful for is that she appreciates coming home. Home looks different now. It couldn't warm a mother's heart more.

So, here's my treat for all of you at Christmas. Take it away, Jaime!

Holiday Cheer
Jaime Hamilton

“Coming home for Christmas” has a new meaning for me these days. The Chinese don’t really celebrate Christmas; for them it’s a ‘fun’ holiday like Valentines Day or St. Patrick’s day – one signified by a jolly fat man’s face in every store window, giving people a reason to spend their hard-earned yuan.

I hum I’ll Be Home for Christmas Michael Buble style as I walk the Wenzhou streets. The smell of rotten trash, steamed Bao Zi (steamed buns with meat) and sweet bread permeate the air – infiltrating my nostrils as I side step hawked loogies, snot rockets and dog poop on the sidewalk. Tis the season of giving I suppose.

No matter how hard I try concentrating on Buble’s old-school bluesy voice, I can still hear the nasally cat-call of the trash lady waking me up in the mornings at 6:30 a.m. 

“Ba bao meya-meow!” 

I’d like to think she’s wishing everyone good luck and happiness in the new year, but in reality she’s calling for left-over cardboard or recycling. Blaise Pascal once said that “all men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” With that being said, I’m looking forward most to the crazy cadence that family brings, the peace and quiet of a good night’s rest on Hamilton hill and coffee…ad nauseum!

Lord knows how tasty duck tongue and goose feet are, but in more simple terms…these are the things I am really looking forward to the most during the holiday season with family:

-       Coffee
-       Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
-       Silence and Crazy
-       Watching Christmas Vacation while knitting in front of the fire with mom
-       Fried Pineapple rings
-       Breathing clean air!
-       Not having to hear the letter ‘a’ at the end of every sentence
-       A western toilet!
-       The beautiful twinkling lights on Christmas Tree Lane

Thanks, Jaime. From our family to your family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope whatever holiday you celebrate is filled with the unexpected gifts love brings to us all as a family of man.

We promise to keep on writing. We hope you all keep on reading.

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