圣诞快乐!

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Published 2006-12-24

...Means Merry Christmas! In Pinyin it’s written Shengdan kuaile, pronouncing the es as short “uh” sounds. It’s fine weather for it: about 20C (70° F?) and hazy. And by “hazy” I mean “about as polluted as L.A. on the worst day you could imagine.”

Jenny and I have been off work since last Wednesday and have had a slow vacation for it. We’ve decided not to make a big deal out of Christmas which is fine by me. We’re saving our money and festive spirit for Michelle’s visit and its attendant trip to Hong Kong. Where I can finally buy some damn pants.

We went pants shopping the day before last...we particularly went to a Levi’s store in the mall, because I’ve been wearing Levi’s, gosh, my whole life, so I figured I’d be able to find something there that fit. Levi’s jeans are made differently in China. They’re made for Chinese bodies. For small waist sizes (i.e. the size I should wear), I literally couldn’t pull them over my thighs. For large waist sizes (i.e. what I wear here), I could button them up OK. And then them pull them straight off. Without unbuttoning them first. Chinese blue jeans are like two denim tubes stitched together. I bet they sell a lot of belts here. Jenny could find jeans that fit pretty well through the waist and butt, but of course they were 2 or 3 inches too short.

We explained this to our Mandarin teacher: Zai Meiguo, Paul shi shoule; zai Zhongguo, Paul shi pang. (“In America, Paul was skinny. In China, Paul is fat.”) I even know how to write this in Hanzi: 在美国,Paul是瘦了。 在中国,Paul是胖。 This is the kind of linguistic accomplishment I’ve been making lately.

Yesterday we rode our bikes around the east end of the island, and over the hill behind the University. We ate at our favorite noodle place for Christmas Eve dinner, and went to a friend’s place for eggnog.

For 圣诞节 we have no plans at all. The holiday is kind of a curiosity to the Chinese, on par with Cinco De Mayo in the U.S. Businesses are still open and most people don’t celebrate it at all. In some ways it will be a regular Monday for us: the maid is coming, and we have Mandarin lessons tonight. I think we’ll do a little shopping. Again, this is fine by me. I’m reminded of my first Christmas in Oregon (1995). I spent it with Jason Tand in Oregon. We spent the entire day watching Buck Rogers reruns.