Christmas this year had many firsts for me. First one away from home, first one celebrated in a church, and first one without a tree. It was suggested by a very wise PCV friend of mine to stop comparing and to simply embrace it as a separate event. The Sunday before Christmas I had the wonderful opportunity to be included in a Christmas concert with all the EFKS churches in the Falealili region. As I was walking up to the stage, I heard my name being called. There were all the kids from the EFKS church who went to the school I had trained to teach at! It was just as surprising for both of us – I was so happy to see them so happy to see me.
The family all dressed up for Christmas Mass
My two brother playing with the cow head.
I think overall I handled Christmas away from home fairly well. Until my family called that is and I talked to all 3 of them on speaker phone. It really brought it home hearing them all 3 at once and I started to choke up. It’ll never really feel like Christmas for me unless I’m with my family.
For New Years this year, I called up my family from the training village and they picked me up for a few days. All the PCVs reunioned in the training village. We haven’t really been apart long enough for it to feel odd seeing them, but I was still thrilled. My friends Allyson and Josh couldn’t make it which dampened the mood slightly but still it was overall good. For New Years night, we went to church for 3 hours where there were skits and songs. At midnight, Madi and I had a private countdown on her phone then hugged at New Years. Not much but it felt good. When else can you celebrate literally the first second of the new year on all of Earth? The next morning the village put on a Toonai (party) for us and once again we all danced and laughed. At one point my Aunt Tusi brought out a creepy giant baby doll and started to dance with it. So funny! It was hard saying goodbye again, but I know I’ll be back.