Today was the Family Day and Christmas Party at school. I can't even begin to list all the differences between American schools during the holiday season and here in the Philippines. I'll try to mention a few though.
First off, in America it is the "Holiday Season" and in the Philippines it's strictly "Merry Christmas." The entire day seemed to be revolved around Santa and Baby Jesus. It's very interesting to see how religion is involved in everything. For example, the kids decorated a bicycle that is attached to a small plateform as a float for the parade, and the fourh year class had theirs decorated like a stable, complete with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.
Another difference is "Filipno Time." This is one cultural difference that I'm definitely still getting used to. Nothing starts on time, and yes I know it's like that in a lot of places around the world but the American "Time is Money" mentality is hard to break for a Type A personality like myself. For example, the school had a special Mass scheduled for today. I was told that it was for students, parents, and teachers and was to happen at 7am. Ok, I knew it wouldn't start at 7, but when I got there at 7, expecting it to happen around 7:30 or so, I was shocked to see that there was only 2 students at the school. ok.... So people dont' stress about time, but my real question is how did every person in town know to show up around 45 minutes late because everybody showed up late at the same time. How do they do that?! They don't always come 45 minutes late, but whenever they do show up later than expected it's always at the same time as each other. I need to get on the inside track I guess!
Lastly, schools in America are lucky to get a holiday party in the classroom. INHS had a parade! Unfortunately it rained all day today, so we got to walk the parade route in the pouring rain. The kids were good sports though, and every student and many parents participated. It was nice to see the parents at the school, and try to match them up with their kids.
So, in short, Christmas is serious business here!