Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

Holidays, pt. II: Christmas, Code Word “Bonanza”

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I lurched out of bed on Christmas Eve. It was not a graceful, grab a cup of Joe kind of morning. I rehashed some memories of rather emotional cross-continent phone calls. I was right back on the phone dialing up a crew of castaway friends to celebrate over a good meal. When one spends large amounts of time away from members of his family he becomes accustomed to creating family wherever he ventures.

We passed on the $30 per plate of overpriced turkey. We each ordered individual four-course meals. Chicken Parm for me, and a Guinness. Ho-ho-ho!

I parted ways with that crowd and proceeded over to my Irish friend’s house. He is heavily involved with a woman here. His house was just clearing out a monstrous 20-person, 2-turkey massacre. He and I had a good, long chat up. It is always nice to pry a piece of perspective off those that have been-here-doing-it. He assures me he now considers Taipei his home.

Needless to say coming off a night at an Irishman’s home Christmas came with a bit of a headache. Followed by more memories of more late night phone calls. It is ironic how being away from those closest to you for the holidays can feel like it makes you closer. That afternoon, I met up with a friend in the nicest neighborhood of Taipei, Tienmu.

I was a guest at the home of one of the Taipei American School teachers. Actually, it was like a teacher’s conference. My friend and I being the lowest tier of some pretty lengthy accolades as far as international-standard teachers go. It made for some smart conversation, lots of wine drinking, and Heineken. It was a feast. It was delicious. The family gave me a stocking complete with gifts and even an orange. Ho-ho-ho!

My buddy and I (who coincidence has it went to the University of Colorado at the same time, lived a few houses down at one point, and moved to Taipei on almost the exact same day) decided to continue the red wine theme on the streets of Tienmu. We did our best caroling on a lengthy walk to a South African’s house. We were out spreading the cheer.

We hopped a cab back to the city center, to a place called Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. His name is pronounced remarkably different in actual Chinese for some reason. This is one of those spectacular achievements of man, absolutely an overwhelming optical pleasure of a place. It is nice to keep in mind that it is also dedicated to a man with a shady historical dictatorship under his belt.

We finished off a bottle of Malbec. We topped it off with a late night marauding of my roommate. We beat the Ba Humbug out of him, and coerced him and his lady friend to open each other’s gifts at that ungodly late hour. I bought him a backpack because his old one busted a zipper. He gave me a jacket because it is getting cold.

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Written by Miles

January 2, 2007 at 1:55 pm

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