The Chinese Christmas Party Post! (Part 2)

Remember how my students organized a Christmas party in a tea house at the side of an eight lane ring road, under the shadow of a spider’s web worth of overpasses? Where I feasted on *sigh* everything that features heavily in my almost-but-not-quite worst nightmares?

 

The cold offal snack plate

 

The grinning whole fish with the staring eyes and the cold offal plate and the pumpkin soup studded with things in shells and things with legs and feelers and eyes at the end of long sockets. The one where there was not one but two pork dishes that consisted 98% of just shining red fat, an inch thick. Oh, and watermelon slices and mashed-potato pastries for dessert.

That Christmas party. Yes.

The one where after a delicate nibble of everything placed before me by my forcefully adopted mother, Mrs Gu, I dined primarily on the vinegar-marinated red-skin peanuts that she ladled into my carcass-filled bowl, afraid I would starve.

The one where I met Gerald, or rather, Gerald was carried up the aisle between the tables by my moon-walking student in the fedora and presented to me on stage to much applause. An auspicious meeting, to be sure.

 

Jerry and Gerald

 

Well, it wasn’t just about trying to force feed myself every food group that normally makes me want to cry. No! The kids had prepared a full evening of light entertainment: surprisingly funny comedy skits, boy-band dance moves, funky freestyle moves to beatbox mouth-work, soulful crooning, surreal games of charades, intervals of gift giving and candy throwing and many many bottles of soapy bubbles blown for atmosphere.

 

The lovely D.L. was the official bubble-ista

 

Most of my kids should not be studying business administration. They should be enrolled in performing arts schools. In my two classes, I have nearly-pro musicians, dancers, singers, actors, artists. The dancing boy with the fedora, Jerry, was reportedly a finalist this year for Tongji’s Got Talent, my huge, multi-campus’d university‘s talent show. A degree in business administration will undoubtedly take full advantage of his awesome drawing, singing and dancing skills. Or not. *sigh*

Anyway, Let me show you some things from that evening.

 

The smooth stylings of Ray

 

Ray started off the show with a surprisingly excellent rendition of Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven, for the local Party Leader who had driven me and Cissy to the tea house. After this, she left. I suppose she figured nothing could top it. Her loss.

Below is Troy, one of the two MCs for the evening. He is almost painfully sweet and polite, but also marvelously expressive. When we did class presentations last week, he was the only one who totally rocked the Body Language category in my checklist. His hair is big and perfectly shaped like a chrysanthemum. In fact, that’s his nickname. The students even came to me to check the pronunciation.

 

He needs to host something. Seriously.

 

There was a brilliant reworking of the Cinderella story, with an all-boy cast, involving cell phones instead of slippers. It was so funny that I was laughing and I couldn’t even understand enough Chinese to follow more than 5%. Body language! *tick*

 

All-boy retelling of Cinderella

 

Did you know there are song and dance numbers in Cinderella? No? Well, there are.

 

Oh, they do move

 

At one point, I was hauled up on stage to be serenaded by the boy who usually turns up 45 minutes late for a class, without books or pen, then spends the next 45 minutes drooling and snoring. Very sweet of him. Almost redeemed.

 

I was forced to be serenaded

 

And there were long, convoluted games that I never quite figured out. But they were hilarious. I don’t know how they did it.

 

The Usual Suspects play incomprehensible games

 

And of course, I met Gerald.

 

When we first met

 

And after four hours of feasting on frightening things and being hauled up on stage repeatedly to sing Jingle Bells or to be serenaded or given bears and fancy chopsticks, we all went home, sober and quite happy.

 

Sober because this is what my kids drink at parties

 

There were group photos, mostly because Gerald was so popular.

 

Gerald was kidnapped, briefly

 

The kidnappers were, from L-R, Mrs Gu the classroom teacher I worked with last year who still claims me as her daughter, Penny the reading teacher, Jessie, my artist student, and the phenomenal Mrs Tang, this year’s classroom teacher. She speaks Shanghainese and I can understand maybe 2% of what she says.

 

Gerald’s fan club mob him for autographs

 

From L-R, DL the bubble girl, a hint of Kailu, Troy the Chrysanthemum, me and Gerald, and Jeff, who smuggled home a big styrofoam container of meat to supplement his cafeteria food diet. He is an amazing kid. Super bright, super curious. He’s the one who re-named the class monitor ‘class monster’. Yes, that awesome.

 

Santa is bald! If it wasn’t for those meddling kids, we’d never have known…

 

I walked the twenty minutes back to the nearest metro station with Penny, the reading teacher, with my arms full of Gerald and Christmas presents and absurdly long twisty noodle-balloons, the ring road roaring past us and the sidewalk lit for blocks with fairy lights and red paper lanterns. As it is China, there were throngs of people. There was even a woman doing water calligraphy on the paving stones. Lovely.

 

Sorry for the crappy phone photo

 

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog's title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.