Christmas Spirit

The Christmas spirit has come and gone intermittently here in Ethiopia. I didn't realize how where you live defines so much of how you experience Christmas! Should have known better of course, having lived in so many places! With my family we celebrate with gift giving and a lovely meal on Christmas Eve. So that is what we did. But first Herman and I went tourist shopping. Then we came home to a rushed house where everybody was getting their best clothes on to celebrate Christmas together. The transition is so big! And this morning we went to a church service, then did some more tourist shopping (stores stay open all the time here....) and went out for injera. And now I'm sitting here in my dads office writing this blog feeling like Christmas was about a year ago.
It was good to be together with family though, and some of our Christmas moments were truly "cliche". Like singing Christmas songs together after having our evening meal with my mom playing the guitar. Most definately a "flashback to the past" kind of moment. Or watching the enthousiasm of my little nephew as he handed out presents and eagerly helped unwrap them. And breakfast this morning with the typical dutch bread that I dragged out of Holland in my hand luggage.
Lunch at the Ghion Hotel was also very memorable. The place hasn't changed and it's a great joy to watch my kids eating injera eagerly in the same place where I enjoyed it so many years ago. Funny thing is I'm much less caught up in the whole thing of going down memory lane than I thought I would be. It's enough just to be here and let my kids see some of what I saw when growing up. Things have also changed a lot. We had coffee at a real nice place tonight, practically nicer than in Holland and definately cheaper! And that was just not done when I lived here before, unless I went to a real high class place. And I can walk the streets without being harassed. Another new experience. My kids and husband think that's normal, but I definately remember differently!
So it's just good to be here and soak in the sun and the atmosphere and get back in touch with my "tropical" side. I hope I'll be able to hold on to it once I get back to cold, chilly, cold-cultured Holland.

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