As I have said (several times already, I think), my Christmas was Christmassy but not American Christmassy. It was as it should have been. Tom and I (and lots of other people) spent all day at church, which is really an apartment, and were served several meals, between games and songs. I’m not used to sitting so long, however, and miss parties where you can hold a plate and walk around. Sergei, Bolat, and Canzizbai were sitting on the couch, having gotten tired of sitting at the table. Their conversation lagged. We were all getting sleepy. “Hey, let’s sit like Americans,” said either Saki or Bolat, to energize the gathering. The three men leaned back luxuriously and spread their knees as far as they would go. Saki and Bolat began to discuss Tom’s posture. He was in jeans and a sweatshirt, and was taking up a very American amount of floor space, far from the table. They concluded that Kazakhs sit close to the table in order to shovel food into their faces (“like animals,” said Bolat, unable to disguise his approval) and that Americans sit far from the food for unknown reasons. “But look,” Bolat said, pointing at me, “Susan’s gone Kazakh.” I laughed and sat up straight, backing away from the table. A few hours later, after the last meal of Christmas (at about 8pm), Bolat said “I’m going to relax like an American” and reclined more like an odalisque, with a pillow under his side. “Me too. Like an American,” said Saki and leaned back against Bolat, an invasion of personal space (personal MAN space, no less) perhaps one in twenty Americans would tolerate from a close relative.