Palm Tree Holidays

It’s the holiday season here in Nabasovi- no christmas lights, but plenty of holiday cheer!  The time leading up to Christmas involves a lot of house cleaning here in my village.  People take out their mats, what furniture they have, bedding, etc. and do some serious Christmas cleaning! People also often have holiday visitors, and it seems here a lot of visiting family is helping with home repairs pre-Christmas.

I must admit, I have definitely been missing home more than expected lately!  It feels weird that Christmas is coming up, and I don’t really feel much in the holiday spirit.  I remind myself though that a lot of what makes the season feel like the Christmas season back at home has to do with things that Christmas isn’t really about, like buying and receiving gifts. It’s a nice change to be in a place where the holiday season is saturated with consumerism.  Here Christmas is all about spending time with your family and helping one another.  There isn’t pressure to exchange gifts, because there is community here where every day there people are exchanging the gift of their time, help and attention!  Being present and part of a network of individuals who care for one another is what truly embodies the “Christmas spirit”.

Rather than be sad that I won’t be home for Christmas, I’m excited to experience the holidays in a foreign culture.  I remind myself to enjoy the holidays here for what they are, instead of trying to compare to what my Christmas might be like at home.  I’m lucky enough to have a family here in Nabasovi that has taken me in just like one of their own children, so I feel very blessed in that sense!  So this Christmas I won’t be worrying about whether I remembered to get everyone a present, or if I’ll have enough time to make it to all of the different holiday parties… I’ll wake up early and bake banana bread with my na, go to church and sing with the choir, and spend the afternoon  cooking and eating with my Fijian family… sounds like a good Christmas to me 🙂

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