We have been coughing and blowing our noses, but that is not it. That is not all.
First, there were our gift projects. I found some lovely cotton canvasy type fabric in the Mapusa market (I really must take you on a tour of the Mapusa market one of these days. You won't understand my life if you don't come with me) and had cloth grocery bags made by my new fabulous tailors.
* A note on the tailors. I've had so much trouble with tailors over the last year that I've seriously considered just buying a sewing machine and making all the kids' clothes myself, something I would LOVE to do if I had a clone who could finish my book and host all the people who come over everyday. If there were two of me maybe we could get it all done. What I did instead was took a deep breath and walked into every Nepali shop that I've been avoiding here in my tourist town since I arrived. I hate shopping. Remember? Loathe it. And there is nothing that will frighten an anti-shopper like myself more than an overabundance of choice. So I took an afternoon and forced myself to go and talk to all the tailors. I found some with a wide open space in the back of their shop, so they were practically outside, but with a shade cover. Good working conditions. Check. Polite, not smarmy. Check. Understood what I meant. Check. Good stitching on the samples. Check.
I found my dream tailors and I have loved everything they've made. Wonderful, because the kids always need clothes and there are no thrift stores here and don't even get me started on the horridness of things that are sold in the shops. *
So anyways, I had the bags made, and then the kids drew simple designs and embroidered them.
The gifts were a hit. We gave them to our neighbors and close friends.
We decorated our Christmas tree; this year a tiny spruce.
We got the rooftop ready for a Christmas party that we had on Christmas Eve.
And then we had the party. It was so sweet. There was plenty of food, and the decorations were so peaceful and nice (the stars were made by Miriam and Johanna, members of our community from Germany and Switzerland. Some are made of paper and some they made out of palm fronds) and I read the Christmas story while the kids acted it out. The child who played Mary had a bit of a nervous problem of picking her nose, so the video may prove to be an embarrassment one day. We sang carols, with Chinua, Miriam and Johanna singing three parts, and Chinua performed his arrangement of the Little Drummer Boy, which never fails to bring me to tears. The guests went away happy and blessed, and we were all happy.
(Kid A took this photo at the party.)
Christmas day was beautiful and sweet, except for my sleep deprivation from going to Midnight Mass the night before. I may tell you about that at another time. (Mistake!)
Oh, the kids were so excited and Chinua and I made crepes together and then friends came over with hula hoops they had made for the kids, and then the other members of the Turbans (the band Chinua was in in the Himalayas) showed up (we haven't seen them since we left the mountains) and then we went for a family swim.I've been worn out, lately, and missing my family, so this soft, sandy Christmas was just what I needed. God always knows, doesn't he? He always, always knows.