Happy Holidays

I believe I mentioned that one of the things I’m learning in Zambia is to deal with nothing ever starting on time. I intended to post this on Christmas, since it seemed seasonally appropriate. Clearly, I didn’t. I could make excuses about 23-hour power outages starting Christmas Eve evening, but that doesn’t account for not posting yesterday. (I was reading, okay?) Instead, I’ll claim that I’m just adapting to the laid-back pace of just about everything in Zambian life.

The only Advent wreath I've seen in Zambia.  Yes, that is a canoe.  And paddles.

The only Advent wreath I've seen in Zambia. Yes, that is a canoe. And paddles.

Merry Christmas, or whatever else you celebrate, from warm, rainy (finally! Though not as rainy as I’d like it to be. I think the farmers would like it rainier, too) Zambia!

People have asked me if I miss being home for the holidays. The answer is: not really. In fact, I don’t feel like I’m missing holidays. Holidays? There are no holidays in August. It’s felt like August for a long time. Besides the weather, there are none of the other usual cues. The only time I’ve heard bad Christmas music piped over store loudspeakers was back at the Shoprite in Livingstone in mid-November. I haven’t heard good Christmas/Advent music in Church. We sang carols on MCC retreat, where the above picture was taken, and Sunday at church. (I hiked to Church in POURING rain that made several portions of path into muddy, shallow rivers. A far cry from Christmas services at home.) No one here plays Christmas music, either, except for expatriates. (And one really annoying toy that baby K has that plays “Jingle Bells.” The irony of this song in this location is not sufficient to get me past more than ten or fifteen listens.)

All of which made it very nice to actually sing Christmas carols at church, even if they were in Tonga. Due to the rain, attendance was low, but the kids put on a very nice sketch (skit). It was all in Tonga, of course, but there’s a cadence to the Gospel of Luke, so that even in Tonga, I could tell what book Luundu was narrating from, and more-or-less follow along, even on the less familiar stories. And there were less familiar stories. It was a small epiphany for me, actually. The Christmas readings are so familiar, but I’m only barely acquainted with the birth of John the Baptist: I can’t ever recall hearing Luke 1 used in a Christmas service, and certainly not in a pageant. And I spent the rest of the day at a board games get-together that the pilot’s family was hosting for people who didn’t have family to be with.

Not Christmas like I’m used to. But it was nice. (And who knew that basil, tomato, and mozzarella salad with added avocado is Christmas-colored?)

You won’t hear from me at New Year’s, either: I’ll be in Namibia. German pastry and five-story sand dunes, here I come! Assuming I survive a 24-hour plus bus ride.

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