Today I greeted 2011 fifteen hours before my family and friends. I’ll be honest, it didn’t feel right. It still doesn’t feel right. When we celebrate the New Year, we celebrate because we made it through another year without nuclear holocaust, Martian invasion, asteroid collisions, or something equally horrible and unimaginable, like scrawny wino vampires taking over the world! But like so many of my complaints and observations about the Chinese, they just do it differently out here.
The students got together and had the most tame post secondary New Years party I have ever witnessed. I went and checked it out as incognito as I could manage from 2 feet above Chinese Level, which is a bit like sea level but you measure it by taking the average height of all the Chinese present who are shorter than you. No need to skew the data by including everyone now.
There was some dancing, there were some games, and there was very little drinking. It really isn’t in their culture to drink in public or even at a party. Which is weird because from what I understand they will get plastered at a special work meeting. But not because they want to drink, but because it shows they trust the people at the meeting. Even when they have license to loosen up they still need to maintain custom.
Thus, as my New Year resolution, I am declaring that in my next semester I am going to try and get them to loosen up a bit. Not my fellow teachers, they’re on their own. But my students could live a little. No, I’m not going to implement a four drink minimum in my classes, this isn’t Question Period in Ottawa. They are curious about North American culture, and they want to learn about us.
The least I can do is repay them for teaching me about their culture. Happy New Year everyone, I’ll see you in 2011.