Saturday, 15 December 2007

British Christmas

To mark the end of term and the beginning of the festive season, the language school organized a special Christmas workshop for us, with seasonal tea and biscuits.

Naturally we started with a little festive vocab (albeit somewhat muffled by biscuit crumbs). This was an opportunity to clear up a few of the mysteries of Polish Christmas traditions. Such as how exactly does a twelve-course meal qualify as 'fasting' purely by dint of not featuring any meat?

Once this was all cleared up, it was time for 'a short presentation on customs in your country'.
Uh oh.
The snow is creeping its slushy way back into our lives, making people reluctant to leave their cosy homes in the evening, so we were few in number: a couple from Texas, a girl from Bulgaria, an American English teacher and me. Oh and three or four Poles who had been coerced into coming along after their English class finished.

I went last, and repeated a lot of the things that had already been said:

- We decorate the Christmas tree (yes, uh-huh); we go to church and sing carols (nods of recognition); we visit friends and give presents (right, right); on Christmas Day we have a huuuge lunch with turkey (mmm, yes);
- and, after lunch,
- yes?

- We switch on the television and listen to the Queen.

The Queen?

There was a politely interested silence, during which I could sense the others mentally backing away as they remembered I was an alien Brit with strange customs, not least of which was a bizarre attachment to the nation's favourite grandmother.

What does she say?

They were giving me that 'hmm... most interesting....' sort of look which makes you realise that you are splayed on a slide at the wrong end of the microscope.

I tried to explain: - She gives a sort of presentation (I don't have a very wide vocabulary yet).
- What, like a speech? What does she talk about?
- I don't know: the previous year, the future, that sort of thing.

- How interesting...

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