Holidays Abroad, Christmas in Beijing

The holidays approach and I don’t have much to say. I guess I am grateful. I am grateful for all the things in my life like work and family and a girl. Everything else is irrelevant.

I haven’t been writing a lot lately. I suppose that it’s just something I can put off. It’s weird though because no matter where I go I am always writing. At work I write. At home I smash the keyboard. I even keep a pencil and pad handy for grocery shopping.

The holidays in China are quite odd. I never go home because it seems like a waste of time and money. Sure, seeing family over the holidays is great, but it’s a minimum 14 hour plane ride and then you have to adjust to jet lag.

For me, the holidays have never been a big deal. Even when I was back home I didn’t care too much for them. It’s a good time for perfect families to come together and be more perfect. My family was great but we weren’t like that.

Maybe I’m not the only one. Maybe a lot of people think this time of year has the tendency to hype up expectations for just a couple of days.

I guess the things that make it memorable are our traditions.

For example, I like to go to church on Christmas eve. I am not a particularly religious person, but to me, that is Christmas. It’s going to the church with all of your friends and sitting down while the priest talks. I really like it.

I am not overtly Catholic. In fact, I don’t know if the church would even consider me a member. However, I believe there is a strong connection between a person’s culture and the religion that they grew up around. You can’t separate the two.

So regardless of what I might think of the Pope’s current policies, or the Catholic church’s less than reputable history, I still like going to church. I think it makes me feel like a human. It’s all so confusing some times.

It’s funny too when you go because all of the priests sort of scold you for just coming once. How we should making regular pilgrimages to their parish and so on. I guess that’s OK. They are only doing what they think is best.

In China when you go to a church it feels weird. I don’t care how many times that I do it, it just never feels right. It’s like your in some alternate dimension. Something like that anyways.

In truth it reminds me of the first foreigners in China. The ones who lived in approved settlements like Shanghai, Tianjin, and Qingdao. That was not so long ago, relatively speaking, but still so different. I wonder what they thought about spending Christmas abroad.

I think about all those old movies we used to watch in my living room during Christmas. I think about staying up late by myself and watching a VHS tape I just got while shoving my hand in a bag of popcorn. Playing video games in my mother’s basement.

I guess a lot has changed since then. I don’t live in my mother’s basement anymore and I have my own life. I still talk with my family, but it can never be as much as before. When my parents would pick me up from soccer games and my siblings would talk about their favorite books with me.

I love my life. It’s just different now. The world is a crazy place.

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