Every holiday season in China, I’ve had a photo taken of me in all my Christmas splendor and presented every student a picture as their Christmas present. For 10 years, my photo was always with Little Flower, my dog. But for 2012, she is no longer with me. I was resigned to the fact that this year, my photo shoot would most likely be by myself with a stuffed animal as a pet substitute.
Or maybe not!
After arriving in Luzhou, I found two Peace Corp members are also teaching at our school. John had been here last year and this school year, was joined by his wife, Ashley.
The newlyweds and I make the perfect addition to our English Language Department. Our classes sometimes include the same students, while others don’t, but everyone knows us from English Corner or from seeing us around the office and the campus. As December approached, I got to thinking . . .
Shall We Go For a Holiday Photo Together?
I brought up my holiday photo tradition to Ashley and John, wondering if they’d like to participate in this gift-giving venture as well. We could all three be in the picture together, perhaps having it taken outside the gate at our local photo place. We could be in full Christmas attire, i.e. Santa hats, reindeer ears, colorful sweaters, and some holiday props.
Yet why go out when the atmosphere is right here?
It was Ashley’s suggestion we have the photos in my home, in different poses at different Christmas stations. Using John’s bells- and-whistles camera atop a tripod, we’d have plenty of options to create numerous pictures to choose from.
The Photo Session Begins!
Tuesday afternoon, we met in my home at 3:30 and spent over an hour coming up with different shots of our shared Christmas spirit.
We had wardrobe changes, headgear swaps, backdrop switches and pose adjustments. We had photo retakes, deletes and agreed upon keepers. We had discussions on where to stand, what to hold, how to act, and expressions to use.
In other words, we put a lot into this, all for the love of our students.
Sighing in exhaustion toward the end, we were all at the point of, “Our students sure better appreciate this!”
And, honestly, I think they will.
Here are our best takes, the ones we are choosing from for students, colleagues, friends and those we feel would enjoy seeing our holiday modeling efforts. (Obviously, that includes my blog visitors!)
Until next time, here’s Ping An (Peace) for your day.