December in GZ…what is going on?

So much is going on is the answer. But mostly it’s a lot of sunshine going on. Remember we are in the northern hemisphere. Somewhat tropical, but not really. This is also China. It gets cold in China. GZ seems to have been left out of the winter weather so far. If it sounds like I am complaining, I am. I want winter. At least in Oz it was expected to be hot. Temperatures above 30°C are normal in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We’ve been hovering around the 22-26°C mark for a while now. A few cold ones here and there, but mostly warm. And mostly polluted too.

December in GZ also brings a lot of Christmas cheer, including decorations everywhere, holiday music everywhere, and parties everywhere. If it sounds like I am complaining I can assure you am I not. This is so much fun. I never expected China to be celebrators of this Christian holiday, but as it is known, all the decor around your home is made here in China, probably even in GZ itself. And they sell it here too of course. The Chinese seem to enjoy partaking in these Western traditions and holidays just as much as we do, which is nice because then it actually feels a bit more familiar around here.

And the parties. So. Many. Parties. I have never been Christmas-ed out, but parties are a whole other level to my ability to stay rested and healthy. Between work functions, our hashing group, friends, Aussie’s, Americans, etc. etc. etc…the partying doesn’t seem to end. But because of this I am given opportunities to do some extra shopping and baking. I baked cookies for Joel’s staff Christmas party and I remembered how much fun it really is. Our kitchen is quite nice and has plenty of space to spread out and make a mess, which includes over 6 dozen cookies.

And of course the dog helped too…

In addition to the Christmas festivities, we’ve also been busy with our running. Our Great Wall Marathon is next May and training has begun. One such training event was the Terry Fox Run in Guangzhou held last Saturday. It’s a charity fun run put on with support from the Canadian Consulate along with other sponsors around the city. My contribution was participating in leading the warm up for K2Fit. I was one of 10, but we had over 3,000 people following along with our fun routines before the 2km, 5km and 10km runs began. While the warm up was heaps of fun, the “run” was not. It was through a nice golf course, but only along the pathway, the width of one golf cart. And 3,000 people were on the track. Let’s just say I elbowed my way through and maybe ran a few slower participants off the track a bit. And I only completed the loop once (2km) because I couldn’t be bothered dodging my way through another loop. Joel, however, powered through and completed the 10km loop (which was only 8km). We had a great time, for a great cause.

Our next adventure was just a few hours later on another hash at Baiyun Mountain just outside of Guangzhou. It is a nice spot for locals and tourists alike. Along with the walking and/or running trails around the park, there is also an area for families to picnic and play: ping pong tables, basketball courts, soccer fields, kids toys, stairs (the locals loved using those for all sorts of activities). So it was a  cool park. The trail run (only 5km) was also pretty cool too.

We followed up this active day with a hash Christmas party at a bar across the river from us (literally, we could see the apartment complex from the outdoor bar), in an area called Party Pier. You can guess why it is called this. The night was a success and we even managed to make it home without assuming we could swim across.

Our festivities did not end there. The following day we spent the afternoon, and into the evening and night, at a friend’s Christmas party in our apartment complex. Luckily it was walking distance. We managed to stretch out the fun until after 10pm, mainly because we were the only ones without kids. Every gathering we are invited to and the parties we manage to get to and spend hours at, we both realise how lucky we are to have such an awesome bunch of people to call our friends. It didn’t take long and I am so grateful for that. We have a variety of friends from many different countries and working in so many different areas (manufacturing, teaching, marketing, fitness, and of course, consular). Every gathering makes for an interesting and fun time.

And finally, the most interesting thing that has happened this month, Joel is now my boss. I know the jokes people would make if they could directly respond to this, so let’s just leave it be. He has to have the power somewhere. For the few weeks left in December I have been hired on as a temporary employee at the consulate, and I just so happen to be on Joel’s team (in his team he manages, he is not on the same level as me). While the job is not a career changer, it is something that will keep my busy and earn me some money to spend on my trip to the states next month. Win-win. And a win for Joel, getting to spend all day with me, kind of telling me what to do.

As for the rest of the month (half way through now), it will be filled with more Holiday parties, more social outings, more work, and most importantly, more time together for Joel and me. Just have to wait for this weather to turn and I will be a happy Christmas camper.

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