I haven't posted in awhile because my computer has passed on to the other side. It just wouldn't turn on one day with full battery charged. Yep. It's gone. So I've been having to borrow my host family's computer, which means sharing with my host mom and three younger host siblings, two of which are equally as addicted to facebook and youtube as any teenager back home. However, it's been a very nice, freeing experience. I've spent more time writing in my journal, reading, hanging out with the host family, making art...it's been very nice. I'm actually considering not getting internet again once my computer is fixed....
...which will be when I get to see Justin! A group of us friends are heading to Ecuador Christmas day and Justin is flying in to Quito to meet up with us! It's going to be so great! We're taking a night bus over the Ecuador border, and my friends and I are already preparing to make the bus ride as Christmas-y as possible, with Christmas snacks and Christmas movies. Super happy to have some regular Christmas cheer added into this holiday!
This is my second Christmas away from home ever in my life, and Christmas in Peru can be tough for volunteers. It is very warm here right now (I'm wearing a sun dress and still a little warmer than I'd like to be), and Peruvian tradition puts more focus on Christmas Eve, la noche buena, specifically midnight on Christmas Eve.
On the day of the 24th early in the morning preparations for dinner are being made, which won't be eaten until midnight. The whole family stays up (maybe snacking a little) and just before midnight the table is set with all of the traditional food and drink-- turkey, paneton, empanadas, canned peaches, and hot chocolate and wine. The whole family gathers around in anticipation for the clock to strike midnight, and just as it does a designated person in the family places the baby Jesus in the manger of the family nativity scene (every family has at least a small nativity set) and says a prayer, and everyone hugs and says, ¨feliz navidad.¨. Then everyone raises their glass of wine in a toast and dinner commences. After dinner, everyone heads out into the street and to the plaza to say Merry Christmas to friends and neighbors.
|Front of my host family's house|
|Me with the high school 3rd grade girls and the tree we decorated for a competition. I mostly just put ornaments in high places.|
|High school 4th grade boys singing a villancico, or Christmas carrol.|
|Mothers preparing chicken and hot chocolate for the high school chocolatada|
Christmas away from home is hard, but I'm happy that I have a host family that has taken me in as one of their own and other volunteers who have become great supportive friends and shared the journey with me. While I may be missing all of my family, friends, and traditions of Christmas back home, the sentiment of love, sharing, and goodwill to others is not lost.
So to all of my family and friends back home, Felíz navidad y prospero año! I hope you are near loved ones and sharing in the spirit of Christmas, and know that I am carrying you all in my heart.