You never really know what to expect when you celebrate a holiday in a new country, but this season held plenty of unusual experiences, not to mention a handful of blessings along the way. We got to celebrate with some Aussies (including but not limited to exploding bon-bon thingys, delectable food, and strange jargon–love these guys)…
Plus, an old friend from Colorado who is now teaching in Bangladesh came to explore our neck of the woods for a while. Did I mention how crazy brave she was? We love you Hannah and thank you a thousand times over for playing multiple rounds of Carcassone and Pandemic with us!
The lack of snow, or cold for that matter, did make it feel less like the holidays, but Bing Crosby on spotify and stiflingly hot santa hats made up for some of it.We also loved having Katie here too. She was with us in our small group back in our Missouri days and just moved here!
The consistent theme for Christmas here seemed to be visiting (not gifts), so we had lots of folks drop by. Plus we’re getting better and better and chit-chat, which made for a much smoother experience than 9 months ago!
These friends were around when I went into labor with Finn. They also stopped by and a we had an impromptu sing-along with my little songbook from school. Finn didn’t want to stop bobbing along to the music.
There was also a candlelight service at church. And I’m pretty sure their version of Go Tell it on the Mountain was the best I’d ever heard. They also gave out random gifts that had been brought by everyone (kind of like a gift exchange). Payton got some sandals. Finn got a chocolate bar. Good thing that the only way Finn can eat chocolate is if I eat it first. Speaking of chocolate. Each of these little events, visits, and gifts were like individual chocolates filled with various flavors from home. When all was said and done, we ended up with a full box of little chocolate blessings that left our hearts full. God was good in filling in the empty spaces of our hearts that would otherwise be deeply missing our old memories of the holidays.
We were also blessed with a delicious sampling of some classics like bakso, opor ayam and lontong–our neighbors are the best.
In conclusion: God was good and occupied our hearts in the midst of a time where we could have easily been deeply homesick. We are indeed blessed.