Thursday, December 25, 2003

The Christmas Uncut

Session 1
Judy is my host family.
micheal is Judy's son.
reggar is my roommate.
micheal and Judy do not live with Micheal's father.

Judy gave Reggar and I eggnog - a thick "milk like" liquid and yellow-white in color, it make from eggs, 2% fat (it is slimmed.) Judy advised us to mix

eggnog with cow milk because it is thick. Micheal like it. But I think it tastes a little like tin-la-shui. But it is good.
It is a tradition to drink eggnog in christmas.

I had a chirstmas with Judy, michael, and the roommate and meet the rest of the Macmillan.

Micheal knows a lot of brand name of cars, he know 30 brands of cars around the world and asked us all the way the car ride to grandparents house.

On the Capitol Hill, there is a grave yard where Bruce Lee is buried. Judy told me. Bruce Lee, a legend Kung Ku film star, is a Chinese American. He is a

philosophy PHD.

Session 2
The grandparents' house

Judy, Mike (Michael), Reggar and I, like other family members went to their grandparents house first. The house 3 stories high, 8 bedrooms, at least twice

and even triple size of Judy's house (The area of Judy's house, which consists of 2 stories, is actually smaller than where I live in HK(1024 sq ft), so her

house is around 900 square ft.) So the grandparents house may cover 3000 square ft. I know, it is huge. As huge as Judy. (Judy and Mike are fat, indeed. But

other family members are not all fat though.) It takes 1 hour to get to their grandparents house from Judy's house. We leave home at 1:30pm and get to there

at 2:30pm. It should be faster, just because the christmas traffic is not so well. The Judy's house is in 195th street and the 9th street (Capitol Hill).

The kitchen is 2.5 times as large as our Monte Vista. The sitting room is also 2.5 times as large as my apartment in Hong Kong. It is wooden house (In

seattle most buildings are wooden, lots of cracking sound while walking upstairs and while someone is walking upstairs). The ceiling is 1.5 times higher

than my apartment in Hong Kong. And the whole house are mainly (65%) white in colour. All in all, it is big.

Reggar and I shook hands with other family members when we first met them. While Judy gave a hug to every siblings she has. In fact, I asked Micheal how

often he visit grandparents' house and he told me once a year, but he meet grandma every day when he goes to school.

The huge house is close to the church, you can walk there from the huge house in walking distance (5 minutes). So we go back to the huge house at 5:00pm and

the sky has already dark.

Session 3
The chruch

We go to American chruch, it's is also huge. It is with a million US dollars organ. (I think Judy is talking HK dollars with me. Now I am scared because I

know she is talking in terms of US dollars. Wonderful. Amazing.) The mass began at 3pm and it still daytime and after the mass finished it is night time. So

I can see the church inside form day to night.

And I know Alex, who is a pianist who serve the church and also in charge of the organ, piano, choirs and mass songs in the church (like Terrie in your

church). Judy tell me the church do not use organ during mass because it is too loud. So the singing group of the church use trumpet, piano and a female

sophano. It is a superb combination. It is a wise alternative. This combination is as grand as an organ.

Judy is wise, she called Alex to arrange a time the let me try the organ without I asking her. I have a told Alex when it is a good time to try the piano

and organ.

The kids choir (probably come from Sundays school, I know that because they are not really a choir.) sing famous Christmas song such as Slight night, O'

come, such and such. It made everybody smile.

Organ's mirror:
At first I think it is stupid to reverse the organ to make the keyboard player, so the back of the keyboard player face the alter. But later I realized the

organ have a mirror, the keyboard player can see what is happening in the altar by the mirror. It was kind of surprise. As you may know, most of the Hong

Kong chruch, I bet, having its keyboard facing the altar. The organ is pretty, the tubes are white with little little simple decoration at the bottom side

of the tubes.

12-edge Star.
Instead they put the cross on the wall after the altar, they put a colored circle which is made with glass (The color painting is one the glass, full of

face of Jesus and others important ones) with 12-edge star on it. The sunlight outside go through this color circle glass and it is beautiful to see the

painting inside the church. The 12-edge is probably representing the Jesus's 12 followers 2003 years ago.
So when you enter the church, you will see the 12-edge star instead of a cross.

The church slowly filled with people. In fact, Reggar, Judy, Micheal, some other family members (1 or 2 of them) and I came the church in advance for an

hour to reserve 3 row for the whole Macmillan family, but some of the family members were late because of heavy traffic during christmas. Finally, the

Macmillan filled 2 benchs out of total 70 benchs in the church.
Each row can have 8 people.
The church is full of people and some of them have to stand during the mass (around 40 are standing and around 600 people were participating the mass from

my estimation, including 50 people choir, singers, helpers, priests, pianist.)

The church have many decoration, the chruch divided 3 sides, forming a "T" sign and the altar is located in the midpoint of the first stroke of "T". Colored

glasses, million-dollar-worth organ, high ceiling - and typical western church. Hong Kong church is more simple, always white colored ceiling. In America,

there are patterns, as seen on some tour programmes on TVB television in Hong Kong. Wooden benchs, 3 confess rooms and before mass preparation room. It just


Actually, most of the catholics in this church do not know how to sing these church songs. There are 600 songs in a green book called "prolet" (around this

spelling, I don't know.) However, it is sure that all catholics in this church knows how to say lord's prayer.(Of course, or I am insulting their

intellgence.) They know how the response in the mass too.(Of course too.), and there is no pamphlet for the mass, unlike Hong Kong churches.

Kids are yelling
American kids are perhaps are more active, some of them are uncontrollable and yelling during the mass. Half of the sound I can hear is the kids' yelling.

Masses in Hong Kong are more quite than mass in America. Don't forget the kids choir are singing behind the altar, so it might compensate the contribution

and destoration, I think.

There is not so much difference in mass. As I know, the procedure of mass are coordinated by Roman Catholic Church, so the format of the mass is about the

same, of course the mass is in English. It is America.
The communion procedure is a little bit difference, for a non-baptist, I can put my hands as a cross and the hands touching the shoulders (right hand touch

left shoulders and left shoulders touch right shoulders.) to skip having holy biscuits (?? I forgot how to say it in English. Even my dictionary do not have

this word.). People go one row after one row to receive the holy biscuits. And the helpers who give out holy biscults do not stay near the altar, instead

some of them go to center of the crowd and give holy biscults. It is a long communion session.

I am so wise that my estimation is very good. Judy thought the mass last one hour, but I believed it will be one and a half hour for the mass as the

communion is quite long.

The Macmallian christmas dinner

it is a huge family. judy have 3 sisters and 4 bros.
so michael's grandparents have 8. 4 girls and 4 boys. and now they all grow up, of course.

michael, boy 14 have 7 consins (exactly)
Dom, boy 13
Joe, boy around 18 or 20. don't know.
Geneva, girl 14
And 2 eight-year old girls, 1 three-year old boy and 1 one-year old boy. (It has been a long time I haven't seen a baby.) Baby is good.

Here are some of the names of these kids parents.

They also lit some candles, they are very nice. I bet you never see these kinds of candles before. White big oval in shape (lunchbox size) and 3 strings

inside the center of the candle, so when they are burning it only burn the center of the candles --form a bathroom-tub like shape filled with melted wax. It

place on a cupboard in one size of the house. And also three green shinning paper wrapped candles standing on a golden, lots of curvy lines candles stands.

It is on the dining table. What's a christmas atmosphere in this very western-style house!

I know someone absent in this family gathering. 1 of grandparents' daughters missing and she is in Texas and studying. And 1 man is handicapped, travelled

with armchair, but still smoking outside the house during the dinner.

We were straving. The granddad prayed before dinner, everyone stood around the dinning table (with candles on the dinning table), and speak new year hopes

clockwise in turn. He said he do it every year. Comment of myself: nice.

During the dinner:
I talked with the grandparents.
The granddad talk the politics of HK and US with me.
Also, he told me he has lived here for 50 years and his wife has lived here for 70 years since born.
The house is 75 years old, but the house still looks new.

The grandma showed pictures of younger micheal, which is the most good thing I enjoyed. And also many pictures of whole family, and many of them hang on the

wall. She even show a high detailed big photo of her ("her" refers to the grandma) mother - Micheal's great-grandma behind the 12-feet christmas tree. It is

I talked with Ron, who know linux very well. And asked about good universities around Puget Sound area (An area which is larger area and cover Seattle and

several counties. may be 3 counties.)
I talked with a sister of Judy, who know someone in charge of mass. She talks quite a lot about what I played in the previous, people guess I will study

music entirely as career but I am not and I told them my real career will be computer scientist. As a tradition, I told her I serve the chruch free, because

I am learning and I don't want create any stress.

They praised me my English is pretty good, so as Reggar. They (like other Americans) ask how I learn English and I told them I started learning that since

kindergarden. Blah. Blah. Blah! (It is a frequent answer & questions "FAQ")

Green wa-sha-bi nuts. (Japanese food. Front dish.)
and a dish of Mexican food. (like egg rolls, but with stuffing and the skin of this egg-roll like food is made of flour.)
15 pound of pork for all people, which is slow cooked 6 hours in the oven, it taste like roast pork ("siu yolk" in chinese).
Prawns with shells removed.
"crap"(?? Don't know spelling. Use a piece of biscuit to dip to stuffing, which is make of green beans ("Ho Land Tau" in Chinese) and very little turkey

Ultra-Sugary cookies. (That's why kids in the house become hyperactive after the dinner.)
And extra sweet apple pie and cake. (hardly have some eat them because they are after-dinner dessert.)

Small kids exchanged gifts again after dinner, adults laughing, relaxed, and just go hyper.
Micheal got an extra xbox controller tonight(a gaming system by microsoft, like Playstation), he got the xbox from Judy at Tuesday. (Controller is the part

we hold during the playing of a games. Many buttons on it, you must know.) His christmas is about to be "perfect" with his respect of view. However, in my

view, it is a piece of junk and he know that even I didn't say that. He even conclude it is a really a piece of junk for me. Xbox is stupid, xbox

originally is installed with windows XP, but someone can modify it to run linux (which is an enemy of microsoft windows.) And the micheal's xbox hang when

he play his first game in xbox. Ridiculous, isn't it?

I will make a joke on him, if he receive the xbox controller earlier than the xbox, or even he didn't receive the xbox on christmas, he will probably


We go home at 9:00pm. It is a good experience, I like it, but please not everyday!!!

26th Dec is called boxing day in Canada (the name is from Canada), and probably in America. Because people mail back the unused presents to shops, so there

are many boxes, many packets for postoffice today, that's why boxing day. Postoffice must be very busy today because the return for unused presents,

although it is a holiday for others.

My "christmas uncut" is not ended. I may send you some pictures for the church.

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