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Last Christmas...

Kia Ora pilgrims!

Welcome back! I recently had the opportunity to go home for the first time in almost two years. Since I left the US in April 2018, there have been a lot of holidays that I have missed spending with friends and family. Of them all, the hardest are Christmas and Thanksgiving. I was especially grateful to have been able to come home for most of December.

To avoid any confusion. This blog is about My first Christmas abroad...not the Wham holiday classic.

Though I wasn't able to make it home for the last holiday season, I wasn't alone. I found kind, caring people to take me in. Both this year and last I have shared Thanksgiving with new friends. Last Christmas I was invited in to the home of two of my colleagues. They knew that I was traveling alone, and had only recently arrived to New Zealand. I was able to see a Zambian-British-Kiwi Christmas with Alan and his family. Later in the evening I was able to experience a Welsh-Kiwi Christmas with wonderful Bronwyn and her family (Bronwyn also took me in for New Year's Eve).

There are a million and one different ways to celebrate Christmas. In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas occurs in the beginning of summer so a Christmas barbecue is quite common. Being from Florida this wasn't a culture shock. Sadly, I've never had a white Christmas.

I met Alan and his family and they had so many dishes traditional to Zambia. The food was so good. I don't remember all of the names of the dishes but they were all delicious. I'm still chasing up Alan's wife, Mary, for some of the recipes!

Bronwyn's uncle brought almost an entire pig. I experienced my first Christmas Cracker. When I first heard mention of Christmas cracker, I thought it was food. To my surprise, a Christmas Crackers is a festive toy. The premise is similar to a wishbone. You and someone else pulls on an end of the cracker. A popping sound is made once it is pulled apart. The person with the bigger piece gets the prize inside (I won!).

I had two different Pavolova cakes (a staple down on this part of the world). Pavlova is a type of meringue that is topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Basically, it is delicious. Although last Christmas I was far from my family and literally across the world, the spirit of Christmas was the same. Each family was super gracious. There was laughter and joy and wonderful food.

I have missed Christmas or Thanksgivings before, but rarely both and definitely not two years in a row. Going home is a necessary recharge. I still have a few months on my visa,but am looking into new locations to travel to. Also, there are a bunch of babies that I would like cuddles from. I take my Auntie Duties seriously.

This trip back was a test. I have been trying to pack light. Since I'm going home where I have things. I shouldn't have to bring all my luggage-- in theory. So I packed a few outfits that I know I will wear,I have clothes at home, and my family has washers and dryers. Oh, how I have missed having a dryer! I truly took it for granted before my travels. Flllluufffyyy towels!!!

OK pilgrims...

Until Next time,



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