So here I am, the week of the Christmas Show, feigning composure while I try and figure out how I am supposed to accomplish all that is before me in such a short period of time. Luckily, I have been in this situation before. (By this I am referring to my last semester before I graduated from the University of Missouri, wherein I put off ALL of my final projects, including a massive 20-page Capstone paper, until two weeks before I their due date [I ended up writing just shy of 100 pages worth of research papers in this time]. I literally did not sleep or eat for two weeks; by the end my face was tanned and my eyes were scarred from the unholy glow of a computer screen. And, although the circles beneath my eyes took months to fade and the sugar-laden caffeine drinks eroded away my stomach lining, I somehow pulled it off. I consider it my greatest accomplishment, though completely unnecessary in light of the time I actually had to do all these things). Thus, I have learned that: a) for some reason, procrastination seems to work for me, and until something truly awful comes as a result of it, I will continue to embrace it, and b) everything always manages to get done, even if the task at hand seems overwhelming.
So I suppose I have not yet allowed stress to seep into and infect my carefree demeanor, but have silently begun making a mental “to-do” list nonetheless. Here are some of the high-points on the list:
1. The song I have chosen for my Kindergartners, “Away in a Manger” is far too short. Apparently the parents require at LEAST three minutes of adorable “standing on stage looking confused” video footage. Therefore, I have to figure out a way to lengthen it via audio-editing software. Thank God I own a Mac, hopefully GarageBand will afford me some solution.
2. When choosing this song I had envisioned a tiny Asian nativity scene, complete with tiny Asian donkeys and a tiny Asian “Angel of the Lord”. Yes, it would be disgustingly cute. However, in my planning I did not consider that I was going to have to MAKE all of these costumes. So now, while all the other teachers are mass-producing identical, matching reindeer costumes, I am trying to figure out how to make 13 individual historically accurate AND identifiable costumes while staying within our budget of $0 (that’s $0 NT for those of you who need it converted).
3. Last week, due to what must have been a brief stint of temporary insanity, I volunteered to play “host” for the Christmas Pageant, which responsibilities include but are not limited to: standing in front of a roomful of parents and informing them of what “act” will be next; trying to maintain some semblance of order as parents with three year-olds will most certainly be clawing their way to the stage in order to get a perfect shot of their child’s vacant-eyed mumbling performance; filling down-time by telling jokes/entertaining to an audience who, for the most part, does not speak fluent English; AND, last but not least, dressing up like Santa (Santa suit provided) at the conclusion of the show and asking the parents what they want for Christmas. I know, right? I though it was a joke as well.
4. “Well,” the Chinese Teachers reasoned, “since he is already dressing up like Santa ONCE for the Kindergarten Pageant, surely he won’t mind doing it for the Elementary School during THEIR recital either, right?” Of course not. Truthfully, I’d wear the Santa suit all day if the beard didn’t smell like feet. Anyone who has spent ten minutes with me knows I like to be in the spotlight, so even though I will act annoyed and put-out by this request, I secretly revel in it.
So, as the days get crossed off and the calendar counts up to Friday, I diligently whittle away at the jobs on my list. Our class’s song is digitally cut, copied and spliced in GarageBand, breaching the four-minute mark while avoiding adding any new words or choreography (thank God). Costumes are made with some combination of construction paper, tape, yarn, and ripped up bed sheets. A script is written for the Pageant, complete with terrible jokes that won’t be laughed at. I practice my Santa voice and “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
Finally, Friday arrives, and though I am exhausted I greet it with a feeling of anticipation. The day feels surprisingly festive as I enter the school on the brisk 60 degree morning. I smile and try to cling to the small Holiday concessions that faintly glow with the Christmas Spirit – The small, fake Christmas Tree in the corner, the colorful decorations on the front window, the Chinese Teachers with red bows in their dark hair. Christmas may be on life-support, but it is still alive enough to whisper its song. I breathe deep and mentally sturdy myself for the day ahead, excited for the madness that is infused into the Season…