Friday, January 29, 2010

The Holidays

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Day of the Three Kings.

I didn’t realize that Christmas was coming up until around early December when one of the houses I walk past frequently put up Christmas lights. Eventually some of the stores put in small fake Christmas trees, a few of the store mannequins had scarves and winter hats on (even though it has been in the 90’s here, with a heat index of over 100 lately), but other than that, they holiday season was hardly noticeable. And I loved it. I’ve never been much of a holiday person. The 1-2month long stressfest in the US far outweighs a few days of fun in my opinion. The only good part is spending time with relatives I otherwise don’t see very often. Apart from that, I’d love to give all of the winter holidays a big adios.

Here, the only day that is really a big deal is Christmas eve. Some communities have big community parties, dances, plays, etc, but Campo 9 is very dowdy on the party front. People just get together with their families. Everyone had a big dinner, stays up until midnight, sets off a million and one fire crackers, and then goes to bed. Christmas day is probably also more family time and a big lunch/dinner. New Year’s Eve is like a smaller less popular version of Christmas Eve, aka get together with friends and family, stay up until midnight, set off firecrackers, etc. A few days after Christmas is the day of the three kings, which I think is when gifts are exchanged at least with the small children. I didn’t spend this day with my host family, so I don’t really know if they did or not. At the very least, when I did go back to my host family’s house, Nati didn’t bombard me with all of her new knick-knacks, so she couldn’t have received anything too large.

For me, the only day I did anything special was on Christmas Eve, when I invited a few volunteers over to Carly’s house for an early dinner. Carly was on vacation at the time, so I was living at her house taking care of Luna. I made chili, corn bread, and apple pie. The other volunteers brought lemon meringue pie, curry carrots, and a salad. We were all stuffed to the gills. I have to laugh every time a Paraguayan tells me I’m too fat to be a vegetarian…If only they knew.