After last year, there is no way this Christmas will be anything but better.
The season has already started out on a better foot. I created a little Christmas corner in my house, complete with a decorated tree, pine cones, and snowflakes. And everyone else seems to be decorating, too. My neighbor strung tinsel up the banisters to our top floor apartment and put a wreath on her door. I’ve seen lights blinking in a few apartments across the street, and our town “square” even has a Christmas tree this year.
This entire month, I’ve had Christmas music playing in my house. My site mates and I exchanged names for “Secret Santa,” so I even did some Christmas shopping this year!
Unlike the days leading up to Christmas last year, this year I’ve been busy with other Christmas-related activities. In an after-school group of kids, we made reindeer out of tiny traced feet and hands. I went to a holiday music recital in my town. I went to a concert in Yerevan by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. I went to a Christmas bazaar of homemade handicrafts. I went to my first Armenian wedding. And I watched a group of crazy volunteers do the crazy Christmas Cascade Exercise Challenge which involved running up and down hundreds of steps and doing various exercises at each level. (I had just enough Christmas spirit to watch and take pictures, but not participate.)
And the most fun thing so far was a Christmas party held in another town, put on by my friend Brian. We sang Christmas Carols in the square with a group of Armenians from the music school. Then we had a big pre-Christmas party with a group of about 30 volunteers, with a dirty santa exchange (where I won a bag of cornmeal and a hideous santa mask), a huge khorovats dinner, volleyball, and a sleepover on wrestling mats at the sports school.
Christmas day will be split between a party with the after school kids group, for which Laura and I baked sugar cookies, and a party with my site mates, for which Laura and I are making chili, cornbread, and pumpkin pie. I already stuffed the stockings, and wrapped my presents for under the tree. I know Santa will be good to me this year, because this Christmas is definitely NOT the worst Christmas ever!
Where will my next Christmas be? I’m hoping at home with my family. But there is a chance I may be in Malaysia… More thoughts about that to come in the following weeks.
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