(For photos of most of December, some of which correspond to this post, click here.)
Have you ever spent a Christmas entirely away from home? Away from all of your friends? All of your family?
As dismal as that sounds, it’s not as bad as you might think. Especially when you’ve got new friends/family along for the ride. Don’t get me wrong—I certainly did miss the Christmas and the people/traditions that come with it that I’ve always known—but between being able to skype with loved ones back home (I even got to see KIBA!!), and spending time with my loved ones here—I’d say Christmas 2010 left little to be desired.
December 22, Maggie spent the night at Buchanan (we snuggled up REAL close in my little twin bed). It was fun to have her company and to be able to finally introduce her to the infamous characters she’s heard so much about and who I have come to love. The girls were likewise thrilled to meet this Maggie person who they’ve heard equally much about.
December 23 was an all-around great day. Jim joined Maggie and I at Buchanan, and we, along with the rest of the teachers, had a special Christmas breakfast. Buchanan’s Christmas Program was slated to begin at 10AM, but like everything else in India, it started late. The hours leading up to it were a little pandemonious (spell check is telling me that’s not a word…well, it should be!), needless to say, but in a good, energy-filled way. I rounded up all my little 5th graders, and they enthusiastically showed me their outfits, full of excitement and eager for approval. Our dance went as well as could be expected—Jim filmed it, actually—and I even made it through the whole routine without stepping on (and subsequently ripping off) my saree. This is a greater feat than you might imagine!
We had to leave the program early in order to make it to Kottayam in time to catch our train to Aluva. As we walked down Buchanan’s drive after hurriedly saying goodbye to Jaimol Kochamma and the few teachers who had stepped out of the program to see us off, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of happiness knowing that I was leaving a place that I loved and would be excited to come back to in two weeks.
The day continued to be fabulous as we arrived to Thomas John Achen’s house, which is always a comforting and peaceful place to be. The next couple of days were spent doing typical Christmas-y things—Christmas Eve, Achen hosted a dinner for us and some of his family members and their friends. On Christmas itself, we skipped out on traditional ‘church’ (whoa…I just realized that’s the first time in my life I’ve never gone to church on Christmas! Weird!) in favor of our own little service at Achen’s house. We followed the CSI Order of Worship for communion, and in lieu of a ‘sermon,’ had a Bible study. We sang carols and hymns, and it was a very intimate way to celebrate Christmas—much more fulfilling than any 2.5 hour service in Malayalam could have ever been. So between that and skyping with Kiba…well, it couldn’t have been much better ;-)
"Courage is the power to let go of the familiar." -Raymond Lindquist