It’s the most wonderful time of the year…summer? As we approach our first southern hemisphere Christmas, we are doing our best to keep Christmas cheer and avoid sunburns.
Thanksgiving was a rough day for Rayna and I, as she was teething and I was just sad to be missing the special occasion. Fortunately, after a day filled with tears and tantrums, we had a Chilean T-gives that was actually pretty sweet. One of the unexpected delights of living in Santiago are friends who live in your building…while it’s not QUITE like the dorms of college, there is an ease of getting together that is just wonderful. So without much planning, I was able to rally two friends whose partners also had to work late that Thursday, and we enjoyed empanadas, wine and ice cream like good locals.
The best part about Thanksgiving was that it meant we could finally start celebrating CHRISTMAS (cue the NSYNC and Amy Grant classics!!!). With the delight of an extraordinary Christmas-prep care package from two besties in Boulder, I decorated the apartment with lights and a window-stick Santa, made cookies and drank chai (iced, as it was close to 90 degrees). Rayna goes into a little toddler dance trance whenever music plays, so she has been loving all of the Christmas carols. But nothing could have prepared her for the very best gift of all…Oma’s arrival! My mom and Uncle Bob flew into Santiago on December 2nd and the season of joy really got under way. Mom definitely brought a sleigh full of presents (her sleigh was just required to be under 50 pounds and contain no fireworks), but it was definitely the time together that I am most grateful for. We toured around a bit in our awesome auto (though I still pretty much hate driving here), walked around plenty (I forgot to tell Uncle Bob to bring walking shoes, so he just slogged through the whole city in pool shoes), and laughed and talked and just were family together for the holiday. It was amazing. The other big deal that resulted from their visit is that our child is walking like it’s her job (like a boss, some might say;). It only took Coach Oma one week to whip that girl into shape and it was great to share that milestone with family. It’s an awesome shift, though I can’t believe our little lady is now a toddler, and am trying to treasure all these days with her because they are flying by so fast.
And so we find ourselves 10 days before Christmas, with plans to celebrate with friends and hopefully explore a bit of Chile’s southern side before the new year arrives. I’m especially grateful for the slower pace of life I’m enjoying this season, as I’ve had time to actually consider what advent and the birth of Christ are about. Jeff, unfortunately, has been ultra busy with research, grading and grappling with students over exams. Though this continues to feel like a very odd season of life, as we approach the birthday of Jesus, we have so much to be grateful for and I’m determined to eat candy canes and treasure the holiday despite our distance from loved ones. We will miss being at All Souls, with family, and in snowy places, and that is just true. But we will cope with trips to the pool, great wine and the hope in knowing God’s plan for us is good.
May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and peaceful New Year. Love!!!!