Christmas Concerts

We thought we were going to have a quiet Christmas.  We thought wrong.  The calendar is pretty full this week.  We’ve already had a few Christmas adventures, with more to come.

Sunday night we went to the Klazz Brothers and Cuba Percussion concert.  Onstage were Germans, Cubans, and a Taiwanese translator.  The Germans and Cubans spoke English. We understood their jokes. We didn’t understand the Taiwanese jokes, but the audience did.

The music was jazzed up American Christmas songs with some Mozart thrown in.  They also threw in one song that clearly resonated with the Taiwanese (they all sang along) but we had never heard.  That’s when I leaned over to Dan and whispered, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”  I think we saw one other Westerner in the audience.

The Germans commented a number of times about how Christmas here was like Christmas in the summer.  The Taiwanese were bundled up in sweaters and parkas.  But we understood.  At least until the temperature dropped and the cold wind picked up the next day.  Now it feels more like Christmas. At least Christmas in Seattle.  Time for fleece!

Last night we joined Charlene at her church for a Christmas celebration.  We misunderstood the directions so arrived too late for the singing but we were in time for the entertainment portion of the evening.  Children played violin and piano.  The youth group did a skit (with all the awkardness of teenage youth groups around the world).  Santa handed out candy.  The pastor gave a short sermon (with PowerPoint slides).  The foreigners (that would be us) were made to stand up and introduce themselves, and pull raffle ticket numbers, and sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (the only song the congregation knew in English.  Surprisingly it felt like a very familiar community.  Charlene translated it all.

After all the Christmas songs and decorations in the stores and restaurants, it didn’t really feel like Christmas here until the tiny church choir sang carols in Chinese.