Christmas in Africa

Written while listening to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Straight No Chaser. (The last verse devolves into “Africa” by Toto. It’s epic.)

Since the weather here is warm, and mostly sunny, it most definitely doesn’t feel like Christmas. I grew up in the North East – where Christmas is supposed to be accompanied by snow, freezing winds, and lots of warm clothes. This is weird. Also, as a singer, I usually spend a lot of time singing and listening to Christmas music. I’ve tried, and it definitely helps, but it’s also definitely different. (Since I’ve spent the past 6 years working at the King of Prussia mall, the holidays have also been filled with a level of frantic stress I’m glad to be rid of.)

December 14th was my 28th birthday, and my sisters 21st birthday. It was painful that I couldn’t call her. (Ethiopia shut the internet off. Because they can). I did get lucky though, that my birthday fell during our “Reconnect”. (Three months into site, there’s a training where everyone from my group got pulled together again. It was a great check-in, and it was absolutely fantastic to see everyone.)

The night of my birthday was a bonfire, and a bunch of the guys made the women coffee. In Ethiopia, making coffee is something that is usually always a woman’s job. Ethiopia is frequently overtly and explicitly misogynistic; and the guys in g17 did this for us as a “We see you and respect you all. You deal with some awful sh*t you don’t deserve. You’re awesome. You got this” gesture. It was a pretty emotional experience. They also wrote each of us a card. (Mine is now tacked on my wall.) It was so comforting to learn they’ve got our backs – to the point where they went way out of their way to let us know.

Later that night was a meteor shower. So while I wasn’t able to watch the new Star Wars movie, it was definitely a birthday I will always remember.

(The above photo was clearly stolen from a friend’s Instagram).

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat…

My family has a few awesome Christmas traditions. One of these is new pajamas on. Christmas Eve. Another? Christmas morning breakfast. Possibly my favorite though is splitting a large bottle of wine – usually Chianti – with my sister on Christmas Eve, while we blast Christmas music and wrap our gifts/write cards in adjoining rooms, with the door open so we can talk. That is something I’m going to miss this year. I don’t know if it’s easier because it doesn’t feel like Christmas, or worse. I’d imagine it’s super tough to have a seat missing at the Christmas table – so Mom, Dad and Danielle – I love you so so much. Hopefully I’ll have internet and can call you.

Instead, a bunch of us are meeting in Metu for Christmas and New Years weekends, to drink, eat and play Jaded Aid. It’s going to be fun. Thanksgiving in Jimma was awesome, but it’s far. Metu will be smaller, but a more peaceful trip overall. The PCVs here, we’ve already become a family. NYE will probably be a bit calmer than I’m used to…but it’ll be good I’m sure.

New Years has always been a “friends holiday” for me. I just got a Halloween box they sent which is hella appropriate (because it’s my favorite holiday) and exciting. I’m saving it to open at home. (I’m currently borrowing WiFi from a hotel in Metu to post this). I love you all, and it is so encouraging to know you support this crazy thing I’m doing. hugggg

There isn’t much about Ethiopia in this post…it’s definitely a personal one. Look for the next post – it’ll be alllll about Ethiopia. I think. Maybe. At least it’ll have more information than this one.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! What’s up 2018?

Thanks for reading! Love you all πŸ™‚


Caption: Italian-Americans take back Ethiopia?? Joe has a great blog too, check it out:


8 thoughts on “Christmas in Africa

  1. Belated birthday wishes as well as Merry Christmas. Since we’ve just begun the new year, my thought for you is that it is an especially good one for you–filled with new, enjoyable, and unforgetable experiences. xo Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have a wonderful time on your holidays in Metu. We all miss you so much but admire your spirit of adventure and giving. It looks like you had an awesome birthday far from home. Sending love and blessings. Laura

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mari, these blogs are so informative! Glad you had a good birthday time and yes, being away from the Christmas nuttiness we do in the USA is a good thing! It doesn’t really bother me, but I know it is stressful for those who work in retail. Have a great Christmas in whatever way that is in Ethiopia. You are surely letting your light shine where it is needed. Love you. Sara

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wishing you a very Merry Yule Tide and a fab 2018!
    We will be celebrating with two new grandson’s!
    Elis and Sebastian and 34 relatives for Christmas dinner at my sister and brother-in-law in West Chester.
    Only ❀️ and Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

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