Last night we rang in Christmas at midnight per Panamanian tradition. Christmas Eve is a day full of celebration and Christmas Day is used more as a day of relaxation. Linda and her cousin came over yesterday evening to help me make shortbread cookies to take to my host families house later that night. They’d never had shortbread before but it was a hit!
They left my house around 7 so I had some time to relax and ready myself to be up past 10 pm. Naturally, I watched Gilmore girls (it’s my new obsession). I also made myself stir-fry because Linda told me we wouldn’t eat till midnight or later and I knew I’d be dying by then. I got a chance to Skype my parents and my brother and then I headed over with wine, cookies, and gifts!
I expected to feel some sadness or longing last night but the feeling never really came. It was my decision to stay in Panama for Christmas because I wanted to see what it was like. We drank wine together and my 5 year old cousin waited until about 10 to open her gifts because we knew we couldn’t get her to wait till midnight. She enjoyed the kitchen play set I got for her!
In the bottom photo you can see all of the gifts she got. I think it totaled out to about 6 different things. And she was so excited! It made me think a lot about how we celebrate Christmas in the US and the sheer amount of things that I was accustomed to receiving as a child. I know I grew up without wanting for thingns-I’ve had a pretty privileged life-but seeing her reaction to opening 6 gifts really put that in perspective for me.
At midnight we at dinner. We had potato salad and ham with pineapple. It was the first time I could remember having ham in Panama! It was very good-as always I’m amazed at my host families cooking. I gave out the gifts I had for everyone a little after midnight and people seemed to enjoy what they got (thanks mom!). And now, it’s Christmas Day! I Skyped my family again, grandparents included this time, and we all wished each other a Merry Christmas and talked about my evening. They’ll be heading to my see my little cousin open up gifts later this morning. And me? Well I’m going to sit here and listen to Christmas music, watch Gilmore Girls, drink tea, pack for home, and I’ve got a baile to go to later! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! ¡Feliz navidad y felices fiestas!