"We are a month into the New Year and on winter break! The beginning of January was a whirlwind of papers and exams, but students still found time to celebrate in style as January 1st brought in 2013. This time is very special for HNC because it is a time of year when most students’ families are lavish in holiday dinner and remembering family. We, at the Center, seem like islands, each one of us missing home and our usual holiday traditions to be here, in China. While others are going about their usual holiday routines, we are doing our usual routines of going to classes and taking tests. Although we don’t have class on Christmas or New Year’s day, it’s still tough to just have a one day holiday when most of us are used to a bit longer.
During this time, the response from many people who miss home is to band together, creating a celebration all students, both Chinese and international, can enjoy. This year’s Christmas party featured homemade egg nog, Christmas stories, a reading of The Night Before Christmas, renditions of Christmas carols by the group of classmates who are taking the ‘erhu’ elective course (it was pretty impressive, hearing jingle bells on 10 erhus -- a real melding of cultures!), and much more singing and cheer. I have to admit, it’s hard to be sad about missing holidays at home when so many people are there to help you celebrate in your own little way.
Now that we are midway through break (a much needed one), it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming semester. I have gone back to the US for break but many classmates chose to stay in China or travel around Asia. We get 6 weeks of break to do with what we choose and that is the perfect amount of time to rest, recharge, and reboot our systems so that we are ready to hit the ground running when classes resume on February 25th.
Happy New Year and we’ll see you soon!"