Bronya o! Afe hyia pa o! Afeshiepa from Ghana! As I write this post it’s 81 degrees at 8:30am and set to hit 90. No snow in our forecast.
I’ve been mulling over a holiday-focused post since Halloween. Halloween. A sweaty, dark, blur of a night only 52 days ago. In a lot of ways it doesn’t seem like we’ve been here 3 months. Things are starting to feel…normal. There are routines and familiar places and faces. We can get around without memorizing a map. The rest of our undies and socks and such are here now. That kind of normal. The we saw Mockingjay in a theater opening weekend kind of normal. And at the same time there are still things we need to, and are excited to, explore. But the holidays are a little different. No matter where I’ve been they always leave me aching for tradition, for family and friends, for home. For candy or turkey or cookies or baked brie or whatever the time-honored holiday fare. For cold weather and sweaters and hot soup and hotter drinks (with a little splash of holiday cheer maybe). For gray, cold days. For snow.
We don’t have that here.
Our new community has all the tools to feel the holiday spirit away from home, but you certainly can’t recreate all of those things. It’s getting hotter just when we’re longing for it to be colder and we can’t even get any eggnog. But people really come together and that makes a difference. We’ve been a’wassailing all month with some new friends and are looking forward to doing a little more before sun sets on ‘014.
The good and the not-so-good reality is that if you don’t pay it any attention, the holidays creep up on you. Or (better?) worse, can sneak by entirely without you noticing. Little Man’s Halloween costume came together in a pinch (as in that day, while he napped) and he did get to trick-or-treat, even if it was trunk to trunk in the Embassy parking lot. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, but not traditional, even if it was room service at a hotel in São Tomé. Our Christmas Tree was up in a snap, even if it is a fake one purchased from a roadside hawker. It would be very easy to let the season shuffle by without noticing and without the pangs of wanting what we can’t have, but where’s the fun in that?
So from our goofy little fake tree to our attempts at making eggnog with UHT milk (it’ll be fine, just add more booze is my motto!), we’re making the best of this, our first holiday season not just on the road, but in the tropics. And our last holiday season with a toddler that’s still too young to notice we gave away all his candy to the other trick or treaters or that he had crackers, yogurt and cheese for Thanksgiving dinner or that an elf on the shelf can make or break your Christmas wish list.
Enjoy the view of the holidays from here in Accra and Merry, Merry to all y’all. Wherever your holiday finds you, know that we miss you tons.