A few weeks ago we had Christmas parties for the students we teach. It was really fun to interact with the kids in a less formal environment. First we had a party at the high school for grades 10-12. First we broke up into groups and played the 'human knot' game; they really liked it since they had never played it before. We played some other games and then I told them the Christmas story while Pook translated. Pook played some Christmas carols on the guitar and we all sang. Last, we finished with the gift exchange. I received a little snow globe with two romantic bear inside; it also doubles as a pen holder on the backside. Naturally I was very excited because this is what I have always wanted. ;-)
Next day we had a party at the college. This one went well too, but not as good as planned. Thais LOVE to cheat (making teaching nearly impossible) so most of the games and relay races that we planned fell through greatly because they were cheating and not following directions. After everything we had snacks and hang out time and they all ran up to take pictures with Phil and I. Some students were really helpful to clean up and we were able to learn their nick names and get to know them a bit more- so overall it was pretty successful. Hopefully they will be more comfortable with us 'the foreigners' and will want to chat after to class and get to know us more. The key is to build relationships with these students.
And last we had a party for our Young Club (children's church). It was great because my dad flew in the night before and he dressed up as Santa. He had been growing his hair and beard out for the last 3 months because he participates in Journey to Bethlehem located outside of Modesto- it's an active play/dramatization that gives tours to people about the journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem, they have camels and everything! Since his beard was white- he definitely looked the part. The children were in shock when he came down the stairs- they were so excited and surprised. They all got to take a picture with Santa individually, we sang songs, and they did a drama of the Christmas story that they had practiced. They had a very special time!