Friday, December 19, 2008

Tis the Season

It's the holiday season again here in Taipei: my second one away from home. A few weeks ago, the turkey was passed around on Thanksgiving along with some delicious gourmet treats brought along by my friends. Joanne and her flatmates whipped up some potatoes (literally) and some homemade stuffing and gravy. Zuhey and her mom brought an extra special set of Tamales steamed to perfection. Tom made some spicy mulled wine that has inspired us all to drink more. And I, the host, carved our glorious bird. (I must admit my carving skills improved dramatically over last year's attempt when I had to carve it with a butter knife!)

Now with the American Holiday Exclusivity at an end, Taipei has been in full swing ringing in the Christmas cheer. How, you might ask, does a country composed primarily of Daoists and Bhuddists celebrate Christmas? Well, commercially of course!

I suppose the scene might not be so awkward to our Floridian residents here in Taipei, but for a Yankee that has spent over 20 Christmases in a foot of snow in Old New England, a Christmas sans the white stuff is a relatively strange experience. But the addition of Christmas trees and lights from around Taipei's glitz and kitsch make the holidays a bit warmer (and I suppose the shorts and tee-shirt weather help out a bit too).

Right across the street from me, at the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, lies an extraordinary display of lights and shine. A tree rises marvelously in the center and the evening lumiere rivals that of Taipei 101. Down in the Plaza rests some shopping centers, food stores and essentials to welcome Santa Clause (including a US$60 Turkey).

Down the road a bit is the Sogo Department center which rivals the best set up at Disney world.

They even have a singing clock which I am sure is based off our childhood favorite "It's a small world."

Then just a short walk from there is the infamous Taipei 101 with its vast array of Christmas Feeling. Enjoy these short snapshots of a "Green Christmas" in Taipei.

But any reasonable soul knows it's not how the central park is decorated or how many presents are under the tree. What matters most is who you spend the season of joy with, as it is your friends that make the times worth what they are. It's amazing to look back over the year and be thankful for what you have and those you have met.

I've been lucky to have known a great many people here in Taipei. But it is always sad to miss those who have moved on to other things- like Kate, Tony, Kirit, Sarah- particularly at the holiday time. As we met for our Christmas Feast at my place, I looked around and saw only one or two faces I have known since first arriving here. But more importantly, I saw many new faces that have become great friends to me. None of us are certainly alone this year! So, as I often raise a glass and toast, "Here's to new friends, to old friends, and to new friends becoming old friends!"

Now- in the spirit of Tradition- I want to give you a holiday poem. This one comes back a few years, to my Junior year of college, and was written by the very lovely and talented Andrea Packard. She claims it goes to the tune of Jingle Bells, but don't try too hard to put the lyrics and melody together because the plan was obviously suspended halfway through! Here's to you AP!

Oh, Jingle bells, Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to go to Conn. College today…

Mike is drinking wine,
While Suki’s turning red,
Kristin’s lookin’ for a dime,
And Ing fell of the bed!


Tyler‘s footloose dancin‘,
Chris is M.I.A.,
Meanwhile Jon is tackled
By A.P. yelling “haaaaaaaayyyyyy!”

Oh, Jingle bells, Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to go to Conn. College today…..

Gagen’s freek-a-leekin’ to Petey Pablo,
There are red marks on Erin’s neck,
Here comes campus po,
Oh SH**, what the heck?!

“Hark-nasty” Liz Lingo sings,
Glory to playing kings!

Melissa’s all up in that area today,
Stef is cracking up,
Britt’s going to Barcelona - OLAY!

Oh, Jingle bells, Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to go to Conn. College today…..

Sam hails from Milwaukee,
Julia’s “like wooooooooooohh,”
It’s ladies nite for The O.C.
Dontcha’ know?

Here’s to countless beers and cheers
And more crazy times throughout the years!

Plowing through the snow,
In Tyler’s Escalade,
Over I-95 we go,
Laughing all the way……HA HA HA

T.J. taps the Bud keg,
While Ing prepares her stand,
Then Art grabs her leg…

Oh, Jingle bells, Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to go to Conn. College today…..

Chrissy’s back from Aussie Land,
Joe’s still in Germany,
We’ll all be together again

So here’s to the Captain,
And big Bacardi O
For making our nights so wild,


I wish you good tidings from Taipei and a healthy Christmas season. From your Jolly Saint Nick Host of Holiday Happiness abroad, Michael.

1 comment:

Christopher Stowens said...

I want that food! Mmmm, it looks so good. Nice blog!