1st of December – and soon Christmas. Celebrating Christmas away from home can be hard, fun and weird at the same time. Here are some stories from the Christmases I have had while travelling.
I have celebrated Christmas away from home, the last six years. My first Christmas abroad was celebrated in Egypt. It is one of the best Christmases I have had with my family. We visited the pyramids, spend time on the beach and in the sun. This Christmas gave us more taste to celebrate abroad. No stress of making food, cleaning and buying gifts.
So, the next we celebrated in Gambia. However, for me personally this Christmas did not turn out to be as good as the previous. On Christmas Eve our hotel had made great food of all types. It was all delicious! But in the middle of the meal, I suddenly felt very bad. All I could do was to go back to the hotel room. It turned out that I had gotten a very bad influenza. The rest of the holiday I had to spend in bed, with high fever, body cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Yep, a great Christmas abroad in other words!
Next Christmas I managed to stay healthy. It was celebrated in Jordan, and I have just good memories of many exciting activities, interesting places we visited, and of A LOT of food.
Then, in Uganda. My first Christmas alone, and away from my family. A very special Christmas celebrated in the countryside with a Ugandan family. First we had to go to church, where I did not understand a word of what the priest said. But it was so cute to see all the small children being dressed up in their best wear. Most of them in way too big clothes. Because they buy new clothes once a year, and that is for Christmas. Better to buy big then, right? So they can be used longer.
After church, we had to wait hours for the food. They had already prepared the food. But when they saw us, my friend and I, for some reason they changed their mind, and though they had to make better and more food. So it took hours. I was also sick that Christmas, with fever and a bad infection, so the waiting was not pleasant.
After the food was finally ready, another surprise. Since I am a woman I had to eat at the floor with the other women. While the men could sit in the coach to eat. The food was delicious. And it turned out to be the most different and interesting Christmas I have ever had.
As a gift and thank you to the Ugandan family, my friend and I bought a solar panel lamp for the family. After giving the gift, the word was spreading fast through the whole community, and everyone in the village came to thank us. Seeing how much they appreciated and needed the gift was the highlight of the whole Christmas. Maybe my best Christmas memory of all.
Because if we like to admit it or not, today people at home have everything, and the gifts given is therefore usually not as much appreciated or needed.
Then in year 2012, I celebrated in Bolivia. My first Christmas together with my husband. But not a very successful one. My husband’s dad was going to make turkey. He was working that day, and put the turkey frozen in the oven at 8 o’clock for us to eat at midnight. However, this was not enough time. We ended up eating tuna on box with boiled potatoes at one in the night. Not so funny then, but a great story today.
Last Christmas I also celebrated in Bolivia. This time more successful. My family from Norway came visiting and we had a great time with both sides of the family. How it will be this year we just have to wait and see. But wherever I have been in the world, it have given me great memories. And I have always celebrated with people I care about, and that is the is meaning with Christmas right!? To be with people you love.
What is your weirdest Christmas memory?