So, ironic that I am the person brought in to teach Taiwanese students about Christmas, but here I am. I don’t really know what Christmas is all about, but I do know that I love Rudolph, candy canes are delicious, and my parents grow Christmas trees….therefore, I’m totally qualified. I was responsible for teaching grades 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 about Christmas…intimidating. According to my teacher from Su-Ao, Christianity is fairly new in Taiwan. Ten years ago it wasnt really a thing, and now you start to see churches popping up a good amount. They also really dont buy into the commercialized aspect of Christmas here, so you dont really see many decorations or holiday sales or that kind of thing…and that’s really all I know about Christmas so, blind leading the blind over here.
I started with a school wide Santa hat search. I hid 25 little Santa hats all around school and if you found one on Christmas, you got a holiday goodie bag! (: I also decorated my classroom with Christmas pictures and snow flakes! Check it out!
I decided to teach my 3rd and 4th graders the song Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We looked at it in both Chinese and English and watched YouTube videos. Then, we acted it out. Rudolph got a red nose and antlers, Santa got a hat, and the other students wore little signs that said “other reindeer”. Half of them laughed at Rudolph while the other half played a “reindeer” game and wouldnt let Rudolph join. Then, at the end they all gather around Rudolph and Santa and clap and hug him, because, they all love him now, of course. See the adorable video below. You can’t really hear the song because my kids forgot to sing along but, acting is clearly their strong suit. Then, I set up a cookie making station where I would give my kids a cookie that I covered in peanut butter (hugeeee deal here because peanut butter is expensive and most people dont have it, so they were reallly excited about that), then they walked down the row and put on M&M eyes, a separate plate of just red M&Ms for Rudolphs nose, and then Pocki (chocolate covered cookie sticks) for his antlers. Check out the creations below!!!
Then, I gave my 6th graders a Christmas scavenger hunt. They got clues in English that led them all around the school, eventually bringing them back to where they started (they were annoyed hahaha) and led them to a hugeeee bag of candy for their class (they were no longer annoyed). It was really fun!!! I played “Two Truths and a Lie” with my 7th graders, giving them Christmas facts, and they had to decide which one wasnt true and what the right answer was. If they were right they got candy! (: Then we played left/right with more candy. Sugar overload!!! We did a big gift exchange with my 9th graders and my 8th graders made Christmas cards for patients at the local hospital. We are going to deliver the cards and give a small performance this Wednesday!! (: I am very excited!
Yu-Fang is a teacher at Su-Ao who helped me plan Mom and Dad’s visit to Taiwan. She sat with me for 10 hours last week, calling hotels, figuring out activities and planning our route. She is AWESOME. Anyway, she invited me to her house for Christmas dinner!!! (: It was really nice to have somewhere to go while I knew everyone in America was together but me. She made DELICIOUS food and it was really western! Her son is half Taiwanese and she told me he has a very western palette and prefers pasta and pizza to Chinese food (me too buddy, me too!). So she made pasta and salad (with mayo on it!!!! Novel concept in this country!), roasted eggplant with cheese, beet rice salad….It was SO SO SO good. I played soccer with her son for a while and then she took me home (: It was a great way to spend Christmas!!
I thought the holidays would be a really hard time for me, but I actually got through it pretty well. I miss home, but no more than normal. The people here really helped make it great…and it probably helped too that I worked on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the Saturday after them to help distract me! Next up, NEW YEARS in TAIPEI! Be on the lookout for the next blog post soon!