Yesterday was St. Nicholaus Day, and we did a Secret Santa/Kris Kringle/whatever you call it round of presents with my group of foreign friends. In addition, you were required to compose a poem for your recipient. After a slow start, we cabbed to a classmate's apartment near campus. By the way, this place really made me get excited to have my own place to decorate and make homey next year. We ordered Indian food delivery (which was fantastic) and snacked on cookies, stollen, and traditional st. nick candies (these are kind of like little gingerbread chunks that resemble dog food, but were actually quite delicious. The presents and poems were all very cute. The French girl who got a gift for me wrote a song to the tune of L-O-V-E and sang it to the karaoke track. It was great to just hang out with good friends in a holiday atmosphere. I can't believe I'm leaving in two weeks.
Party number two was this morning. I finished teaching my English class a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to get together with the class again to hang out. This morning was their last test ever, and they will graduate soon. So afterwards, I met them and we went out to eat together. We went to a buffet called American Island, though the food was Chinese and Asian. It was very delicious. It seems that when Chinese people do buffets, they go up for multiple trips at once and get most of the food they plan to eat so that afterwards, they can eat and talk and don't have to get up again. By the way, I'm convinced the Chinese word for chocolate doesn't really mean chocolate, but rather "brown colored and slightly sweet." The buffet also included beverages, so all of the boys in the class drank quite a few beers. I did think it funny that none of the girls drank and all of the boys did. They are all really cool kids. (Actually I'm younger than all of them) It was interesting speaking Chinese with them for the first time, and hearing them crack jokes in Chinese. I hope to meet up with some of them again in the next two weeks. It's funny, I now have 42 instant Chinese friends.