A Christmas Memory

In third grade, I was attending a small school in rural Saskatchewan. I had a great teacher, and I liked my classmates, but sometimes I was misunderstood.

One day in early December, our teacher asked us to talk about things that we like do around Christmas time. My classmates began talking about caroling, cups of hot chocolate, tobogganing, warm fires…

I listened to these things, then slowly raised my hand and said “I like to go swimming at the beach.” I was not being cheeky. Just two years previous, my family had spent the most memorable Christmas of our lives on the beach in Karachi, when PIA bumped us from our ongoing flights. We had spent our day swimming, riding a camel, and watching baby sea turtles make their way into the ocean. At that time in my life, going to the beach was one of the most Christmas-ey activities I could think of.

I was mortified when my teacher responded: “Yeah, that’s not something we can do at Christmas.”

“But I did,” I protested. “We had Christmas on the beach in Pakistan!”

“But we’re talking about things that people normally do at Christmas.”

Embarrassed, I sank into my seat and said no more. These people would never understand.

10 thoughts on “A Christmas Memory

  1. “’But we’re talking about things that people normally do at Christmas.’

    Embarrassed, I sank into my seat and said no more. These people would never understand.”

    This short story perfectly captures the frustrations of TCK’s attempting to share our experiences with “normal” people, ending with embarrassment and resignation. Brief, poignant, eloquent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve spent a few Christmases in New Zealand. If I had been in school there, I’m sure I would have had a much different response! I admit, I do find it rather incongruous that they sing songs like “Let it Snow” and “Jingle Bells” despite the balmy weather at Christmastime.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That could have been a fabulous thing for the others in the class to hear about. That teacher was possibly jealous of your Christmas adventure. I’ve had Christmas in many different places in the world but not Pakistan!😃

    Liked by 1 person

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