I know, I know. It’s been a while I’m sorry. How about a midweek post just in time for Christmas to make up for it. Speaking of which…
This year I am spending the holidays in North Carolina with my sister, aunt and grandmother instead of the usual way, with my mother, father and both sisters in Ecuador. One of the things I love most about is experiencing a different culture. It may sound cliché, but it is also very true. There something pretty awesome in seeing this same old world in a bright new way. But want to know what’s even better? Sharing your own culture right back and seeing something pretty great emerge, because very often the result is not a culture clash as much as a truce. Proof? Eggnog, Yess! But pair it with Buñuelos and Natilla and the result is almost magical.
I don’t believe my family has a lot of holliday tranditions in the conventional way. I supose we did have a more “traditional” Christmas at some point. Maybe before I turned 1. I imagine my entire family must have gotten together, eaten delicious Colombian Christmassy food and listened to Villancicos. But then we moved to Ecuador, an entirely new land. There, my family, devoid of any other relatives with whom a custom could be made, were left to our own devices, and oh the things we did. The complete list of all our holiday adventures is far too long to be rendered here in full. But I doubt that if we were to put them all together, the best mathematician could hardly detect that many patterns among them. I guess that in poorly phrased words, I’m sorry, it is midnight on Christmas Eve after all, and we traditionally broke all traditions we could.
Back in the early days when Ecuador was still a wildly unknown land, to us at least, we seized every opportunity we had to go and travel around. We often made great use of our time, left home days before Christmas and returned after the New Year. Therefore I can’t remember the last time I actually opened a present on the 25th.
One of the most memorable Christmases we had was the year my cousin came to stay with us. You probably know, that eating out on peak Christmas day, is probably not the best laid plan. But one year we said “Let’s do it, let’s do it! To hell with all the cooking and prep! This year will go and have a nice dinner out.” And go out we did. Now you can probably guess how the rest of the story goes. Everything was closed, all the restaurants and shops, we had nowhere to go. What was opened, however, was a single Kentucky Fried Chicken. Because it was the one thing open on that day it was also of course very full, and by the time we got there it was very late. So the 6 of us sat in a table for 4, and had fried chicken with strawberry, lukewarm soda because by then it was the only thing they had left. Not bad overall.
Another year, for some reason that I can’t remember, we did not decorate the house. Of course we would not let this dampen our spirits and we did not want to be to go without somehow acknowledging the holiday. Thus my mom, dad, my 2 sisters, and I sat around the one potted plant and opened our presents.
And you thought I was kidding
Over the years some, eh, rituals emerged like the great scavenger hunts my sisters and us would hold in order to find our presents. We got pretty good at finding them in later years, yes, but so did my parents at hiding them. Our nonchalant attitude towards the holidays always turned out to be lots of fun, or at the very least, a great story. We were however always, always together.