I'm going to start out by apologizing to everyone. I totally forgot to pick up my camera on the way out this morning so I have absolutely no pictures to show you from today. :( If it makes you feel any better, I'm way more bummed about it than you are because now I have no pictures to add to my personal collection. :( :(
If you're wondering how today went, I would have to say it went very well. There were about 50 people there this morning, and quite a few people didn't even get to come. We had a great morning meeting with lots of singing and merry making. Lunch was good, as we crammed all those people around 4 tables. The real entertainment, however, was the gift exchange. We always play "dirty Santa" or "white elephant" or whatever name you might have for this game. Everyone brought a small gift of some sort; funny, serious, useful, useless, doesn't matter. We then drew numbers and took turns opening gifts. When it was your turn, you could choose between opening a new gift or stealing a gift from someone else. The game went on until the last person opened a gift. I ended up with a pair of girl's gloves about three times too small and a bar of Dove chocolate. That's okay, though. I had fun! I gave the gloves and the chocolate away, so it didn't matter to me.
The rest of my afternoon was spent with Jessica and two Chinese (Andrew and Athena) at a new coffee place called Box Coffee. It's the first coffee place in town that actually has a coffee house atmosphere. Every other place in town that calls itself a coffee house is usually too fancy and they all, without exception, have gross nasty coffee that is overpriced. Box Coffee actually has decent coffee, ground and brewed when you order, that is only 10 yuan per cup. That's compared to the 30 yuan price at just about any other place. We spent a while hanging out and mulling over what it would be like if we owned and operated our own coffee house in Shiyan. It would be quite the opportunity for community outreach and, if it made enough money, could possibly fund a free medical clinic that some of the medical students are interested in starting. The possibilities are astounding! Of course, none of us has the capital to get something like that going, so it's only daydreaming.
After coffee Jessica and I raided the grocery store and headed home. The weather turned very cold and rainy since this morning, so Jessica was inspired with thoughts of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Luckily, we keep a supply of cheese in the freezer for just such an occasion so we thawed it out and I cooked up a couple of sandwiches. Around 7:30 Angelyn and Jessica had some students come over to hang out so we all sat around in Jessica's apartment and enjoyed some no-bake cookies (thank you Jessica!), talked about our Chengdu trip from last week, and then watched You've Got Mail. We were looking for a Christmas movie and somehow that was as Christmasy as we could get and feel like the students would enjoy it. We really need to work on our collection of Christmas movies!
Since they left, I've showered, blogged a little, been interrupted by a Skype call from my family, and now I'm finishing up this blog entry. All in all a good Sunday. Tomorrow I don't have much planned, but considering how rainy and freezing cold it is right now I don't imagine I'll be wanting to get out much tomorrow. Our school is taking all of the faculty from our department to dinner tomorrow night and then some people are planning to go caroling around the medical school campus. Fun times will be had!