This year I celebrated my first Christmas away from home and family in Chile. We made a nice time for ourselves, though. On Christmas Eve, Roy, Tom, Caitlin, and Meg came in from Santiago. When they arrived, our kitchen was packed as everyone worked on dinner. Roy and I made our contribution by washing dishes. That evening, we went to Mass in the chapel next to our house. Afterwards, we ate a fantastic dinner outside at midnight under the grapevines in our yard. It was a little strange for me because I’d used to snow and freezing temperatures around Christmas, not 80’s and sunny.
Christmas day itself was pretty relaxed. In the morning, we exchanged Secret Santa gifts (I wrote a short program to shuffle our names and email each person with his recipient). I am now the proud owner of a pair of giant female bear slippers left by previous associate Krissy Caponi. Meg, who gave me the slippers, didn’t realize how appropriate they were because I accidentally left mine behind in Bolivia. For the rest of the day, we relaxed together and read. A variety of parents had sent the latest issues of People and Time. Though I don’t usually like People, I read through a few issues to refresh myself on the latest goings-on in pop culture. I’m thrilled to report that Tom Cruise bought Katie Holmes a $200,000 ultrasound machine, probably as a thank you for having his child. I’ve also started re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, ironically spurred by the release of the movie. I say ironically because I haven’t seen the movie or made plans to see it; in fact, I haven’t been to a movie theater in five months.
I was happy to hear from all of my immediate family members on Christmas Day. It was really nice to talk with my family back home when I couldn’t be with them. For now, onward to New Years!