Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Colombian Christmas

Spending the holidays abroad and away from home is not something new for me. Having spend the Christmas season in Hawaii and South Korea helped to prepare me for once again being away from my family and friends back home in Iowa this year. But this was one of the tougher experiences that I've had. Since we swore in on November 14th, there hasn't been a whole lot of action on this end. Days are filled with books and Netflix series, so the holiday season was looked upon as a much needed reprieve from the day to day droll that has consumed our lives. Luckily, my host family did the best that they could to help me cope with a little case of the holidays blues.

Here in Colombia, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th (Christmas Eve) instead of Christmas Day itself. My family had a small gathering at our house. True to Colombian form, the party started around 9:30/10:00 pm with the arrival of my host mom's sisters, some of my host dad's cousins and family, and a few neighbors. Derek and Janice also joined in the festivities. My host mom made this amazing drink that was very similar to egg nog and with the music pumping, the drinks flowing, and some amazing food, we went strong until about 5 am on Christmas Day. My family never fails to have a good time when it comes to celebrating holidays. This one was no exception!

Derek and I with my host dad
Host dad passed out after way too much fun (and whiskey...)
Myself, Janice, and Derek around 5 am - still going strong!
On Christmas Day, I headed to the beach with Jessi, MC, Derek, Christopher, and Casey. We're determined to start a new tradition of hitting up the beach on Christmas Day. Instead of spending the day inside huddled under blankets, we dug our toes into the sand and enjoyed the beautiful Colombian sun and coast. This is definitely a tradition that I'm looking forward to continuing during my time here in Colombia! Later that night, I was able to Skype with my family back home. They were all gathered at my grandparents house and it was great to see everyone and do a short catch-up session.

While it was a bit difficult to be away from my family this past holiday season, Colombia did it's best to help me feel like I was at home.

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