Or is there? Although we had to attend classes, the situation about Christmas in Taiwan is not that bad. Christmas is not national holiday in Taiwan, so people have to go to work and shops stay open. But Taiwan is so influenced by western culture and the community of international students (and working people) is large enough to not let you hide from Christmas.
Just do not expect snow, Christmas trees and choirs singing. We got up in the morning a little later than usually and casually stated that we don’t really want to go to school today. But in the end we did. Immediately after getting to class, we realized that today indeed is a bit special. Instead of usual over 40 international students, we saw less than 10 (including us) and the teacher was missing as well. While not really paying attention, we just waited for our Taiwanese classmates and the substitute teacher to finish their presentations and went to our Chinese class.
Most of the students enrolled in Chinese class were about to take the final test (on Christmas!). My study group fortunately expressed our disgust against this enormity in the beginning the semester, so our teacher had no other option than moving our final one week earlier. Lukas and Jan on the other hand were studying until the very last moments and couldn’t avoid taking the Christmas Chinese final exam. We just got a roasted duck and spent most of the class watching videos and solving our questions (she refused to tell us how to say weed in Chinese though; police is „jing cha“ 警察 and jail „jian yu“ 監獄).
After dealing with school, we decided to take an afternoon power nap. Fortunately we came back to our lives soon enough to not the waste whole Christmas day. And due to having the ocean here and the school beach, we took a skimboard and went to do some rides before the sunset. We intended to get to the beach by a shortcut via the school windsurfing club but once again we had the face the Taiwanese mentality and although the gate was open and club administrator was present, we were told that the club is only open on Saturday and we can not walk through here to the beach. We didn’t let him discourage us and just took the longer path through the hotel. And then walked to the beach part directly in front of the windsurfing club of course. I will never get this type of thinking.
After skimboarding, it was almost time to set off to dinner, which we agreed on having with the other international students in Cow on Fire – all you can eat steakhouse. For those of you who don’t know the concept of all you can eat, it basically means you pay an entrance fee and then you can enjoy unlimited supply of beef steaks, fried pieces of mozzarella, broccoli, pork, chicken and whatever you want for the whole evening. On the top of it, you get an ice cream with banana before leaving.
After the dinner, we planned to play some games and do the gift exchange in the dorms. And as we have the Christmas, we stopped by at Carrefour for some wine. Being in the shop, we decided to buy some more funny Christmas gifts (sack of coal, frying pan, …). The whole evening was about distribution and redistribution of the presents. The goal of the games we played was to take someones gift of exchange it with someone and so on, so no one knew what is he going to get until the very last moment, even though some presents were already unwrapped.
I ended up with a gun, well an electric bubble shooting gun, Lukas got the sack of coal and diabolo and Jan got badminton rackets.