Hi everyone, it’s been a long time that I away from blogging, so now I come back and bring you with some of my fascinating experiences and stories about how did I spend my time for both Xmas and New Year holiday. Though it’s been weeks after that, I still want to share with you guys about the colorful life in Surrey and hope that can inspire you.
Generally, the Xmas and New Year holiday together can last 2 more weeks and normally starts since the mid-to-late of December and end up around the 10th of January of next year. Xmas time, like the Spring Festival and Mid-autumn Festival in China, stands for the moment of family reunion and the gathering with friends in western culture, which marks the most relax and joyful time throughout the year. Shortly after that, accompanied by the cheers from the crowd, everyone celebrates, counts down and welcomes the new year amid the splendid firework, people were inspiring themselves to strive more advancements in the new year whilst releasing all the unhappiness and pressures of the last year. When we move our sights to The University of Surrey, you’ll find there’s a sharp contrast before and after the Xmas holiday. Prior to the holiday, most of the students just finished 3/4 of their coursework and exams and then make the relax atmosphere fill out each corner of the uni, which sharply against another scene that people are exceptionally busy dealing with their final exams when they come back.
Xmas celebrations actually last a long time period and contain a set of different events. In Guildford, the warm Xmas ambiance was getting stronger since the middle of November and each store was well-decorated in Xmas style alongside the street.
On the 21st of November, the light switch-on ceremony was initialized at the high street. Suspended Xmas lights were all lighted up and basically filled out the main street, then followed by the fascinating fireworks, which literally cheered the town up through bustling crowd that might contain thousands and hundreds of people that I never have seen before.
There’s a special event in the western culture called ‘Secret Santa’ which simply means the Xmas gift exchange among family members, friends and colleagues. Of course, we had this event during our Xmas time by using a lucky-draw alike app to randomly choose the person that you going to be sending the gift within a certain budget. However, the name of the gift-giver shouldn’t be revealed, that’s why this activity is given the name of ‘Secret Santa’.
It’s also worth mentioning that the accommodation office launched a Xmas decoration campaign for all uni students in order to add more fun for the Xmas time and facilitating friendship among flat members, then promote the idea of using recyclable and sustainable materials. The basic rule of the campaign is, try to use recyclable materials as much as you could find and reshape or reconfigure them into a certain Xmas ‘artwork’, then put them on appropriate position in the public area of the flat such as kitchen. I firmly believe that my flat is the one that most actively participate this competition and even start works one week ahead, during this period, almost everyone who living with me work and gather different innovative ideas together. Therefore, without any doubt, we won the top prize of the campaign and got the 70 pounds worth shopping voucher from Tesco! It’s truly very aspiring and joyful! More importantly, during this process everyone decorating our home together after the whole day’s work or study, making our home warmer via Xmas decoration, which gives a pretty authentic true family-feeling for us.
70 pounds Tesco voucher was used to buy loads of food ingredients before our Xmas dinner, and we were together to make a great variety of foods like Pizza, Lasagna, Brownie and so on. The gift exchange was really hilarious and everybody was guessing who is the gift giver for him or her. One of our flatmates, Georgia, who’s currently studying in GSA, presented an improvisational dance and gratitude speech, which gave us a more fun feeling of the dinner. Xmas dinner was followed by a joyful house party, for that moment, everyone feeling like the house is just like ‘a light pub’, everybody just very enjoyed in it and tried to get rid of the tired feeling of the whole year. For international students like us, the Xmas party has been given more meaning that not only you are no longer feel lonely, but more actively get involved, engage and study with a different cultural context.