It's been a lovely week of baking, taking time off to lounge in the hammock, and preparing for our tropical Christmas. Seeing as how this was the first holiday season that my daughter's been away from my family, i wanted to make it a good one. We ate soups at our house on Christmas Eve, throwing together some candles and scaring up enough chairs and stools for everyone to have a little space around our table at Casa Bambu.
It was a bit like a regular Christmas, even if everything is different in some way. We have a plastic white tree adorned with blacklights and pink bulbs, instead of our regular homemade number filled with our collection of family ornaments. Our house has one significant wall that keeps out the neighbors, instead of four that keep out the winter winds. We spent the day lounging by the pool instead of sledding or making snowmen. Since my budget is lower here, for the first time in a long while i was actually able to stick to my savings plan, even in spite of the extra holiday expenses. Que bueno!
Outside our door, kids were not tucked in tight early in the night, waiting for Santa, but instead were up past midnight, when the cacophony of fireworks hit epic levels as i've never experienced in my life. Midnight is the apex of Christmas here, everyone heralding the first moments of Jesus' birthday. As the rebelangel says, Jesus is really lucky, because he seems to get the biggest birthday party in the world. If anyone was able to sleep through that midnight fiesta of brass bands and bombas and general yelling and merriment, they are certainly hard of hearing.
Then it was Christmas day. Instead of piling into my parents' 4-wheel drive vehicles to head to my sister's old restored farm house, we rode a horse-drawn carriage around the oldest city in Nicaragua, where Spanish colonial churches still bear scorch marks from years of conflict and treachery. Here we get around in carriages, squeaky taxis, or on the new, yet rickety white "mountain" bike i bought from the local market. I haven't driven in months and even riding in someone's car is starting to feel weird. The rebelangel hasn't ridden our "mountain" bike at all -- which means she hasn't ridden a bike in months either. Everything is topsy turvy, but it's also quite serene and things are relatively smooth sailing.
Regardless of the differences in how we get around and what we do or don't do now, it's certainly been a holiday to remember.
Speaking of driving, my friends at Carvi have this cool new driving assistant that i have to check out when i get home and need a car again -- or when the rebelangel starts driving. With a small camera and your smartphone, you can find out how you're doing behind the wheel. Cool!