This was my first Christmas out of the good old United States of America.
Now, I wouldn't say I come from a huge background of tradition. Let me explain before my wonderful family full of tradition jumps back in shock. We do have very many traditional things that we do and love to do. I have had Christmas trees, ornament traditions, mornings with stockings and cousins and even pajamas and light viewing. What I mean by not having tradition is that my Christmas is always simply based on where I am and who I am with. When I think back to the past 23 Christmases in my life I have stints when I am with the same people (The beginnings are Mom, Gabby and I in a little apartment spending the season together, that is followed by another wonderful stint, this time in Colorado with the cousins, quiche, a blue penguin, a magical giant Christmas tree, and baking cookies with my aunt, and finally, the mystery years, I had no idea what I would do or who I would be with in the years that followed. Last year was a movie with my sister and I didn't even put a tree up. Because of this lack of tradition, I wasn't as sad to be away from home as some of my friends. Some other volunteers have spent 20+ years in the same house or with the exact same people. My life just hasn't been like that. I didn't even think about heading back to the states. I miss the Christmas season. I miss my mom. I really miss my sister. Other than that, a new type of celebration wasn't all that strange.
I started my celebration with a trip to the capital. I was going with another volunteer, Sara (she's the cutie in the coral dress in the group photo I keep on my blog), to visit a third volunteer, Ashley, in her site, Boyá. I left my host family house around 6:45 in the morning to make my way to caribe tours. I took a giant bus to the capital and met Sara at the metro stop. We took the metro to the end and went to La Sirena for lunch and to purchase supplies. We crossed the street, or should I say river of black water, and finally made our way onto the most overcrowded bus I've ever been on. I got into a verbal fight with a Dona over the course of the two hour trip and we finally landed in Boya.
In this country, it seems that the Christmas eve dinner is the most important part of the holiday. They roast an entire pig and dig in. We had rice, salads, and a few other choice Dominican dishes. The holiday felt very different, but the pig was great. I love pork and therefore I love this holiday tradition.
On Christmas morning the three of us woke up, forgot and then remembered and then forgot again that it was Christmas, and watched a few holiday episodes of FRIENDS. Later we went back down to Ashley's friends house and tried to get our internet to work enough to talk to our families back home. It didn't really work, but it's the DR, what can you expect?
That afternoon we made eggless cookie dough batter (thanks for the inspiration Gabby!) and watched movies while drinking wine and talking. I got a lesson in how to knit, and gave a crap lesson on how to crochet, because I only had a knitting hook, and that doesn't really do what I want it to.
Today, the 26th, we are going to go on a hike, and tomorrow we are going to try to go to some after Christmas sales in the capital and then I will head home. I think I'm just ready to jump head on into my new project and life. Things are looking up for me in this world after a lot of time spent in limbo.
The new year is coming and with it many new beginnings.
Know that I love you and miss you all, and while I would love nothing more than to spend next Christmas in America, I can't say that I know where this world is taking me. I do know that I have a long list of friends and family that I miss this season, but let's get real, I miss you all every day that I am not with you, and that doesn't' just include this time that I am spending in the Peace Corps. You are my life my world.