Dan has related the story to several people. He and a bunch of others had slept over at my house, and we were laying around, too lazy to get out of bed, but awake enough for conversation. Apropos nothing, I said, “We can play Christmas music!”, after which I crawled across the room and put my Holiday playlist in rotation. It was Black Friday, the official start of the Christmas season, and hell if I was going to waste any time.
I don’t know that I’d say Christmas is my favorite time of year, but I definitely like it a lot, and without the trappings of North American winter—crowded shopping malls, Mel Tormé on the radio, ubiquitous Starbucks red cups, cold weather—the Christmas season isn’t quite as enthralling for me here in Samoa. So I feel the need to overcompensate, and thus the “All I Want for Christmas is You” on Black Friday morning.
This overcompensation seems to be part of the Peace Corps experience. Some of us who’ve always felt a little ambivalent about hardcore American patriotism have been born again. I’ve always been a big fan of Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” but now even when we briefly talked about ASCII in my computer classes, I was quick to point out the A is for American. Whoo!
In any case, I’ve tried a couple different ways to remind myself it’s Christmas time. Last year I read David Baldacci’s “The Christmas Train,” which is a terrible terrible book. I made it a point to save all the Egg-Nog-flavored Ghiradelli squares because they capture the essence of Christmas pretty well.
I’ve considered hanging Christmas lights around my house—this is my first dwelling since college in which I have sole control over the building. There are several problems with putting up the lights: they’d be difficult and/or expensive to acquire, they’d be difficult to hang, and plugging them in inside the house would probably mean a breach in mosquito security. Expenses like that are hard to justify since I won’t be here for Christmas next year.
The ferry between Savai’i and Upolu gets a lot more crowded during the lead-up to Christmas, so the PCVs that live way out there get a good Christmas reminder. There is a whole lot of Christmas music played on the buses and the radio, but it tends to be of a slightly different style—i.e. put to a synthesized techno beat and often awkwardly mixed with inappropriate non-Christmas music. The worst example of this I’ve heard would have to be (no joke) “Feliz Navidad” mixed with Black-Eyed Peas’ “My Humps”.
Blakey and I are trying to figure out our plan for Christmas day. I’ve suggested watching the various cartoon Christmas specials, which we have in AVI format on the community hard drive in the Peace Corps office. I also thought about compiling various Christmas episodes from different seasons of different TV shows. Blakey wants to cook. Yeah. I think that will do.
I hope you’re well. No pictures today. Sorry.
1 year ago
for my Samoan Mum, the "traditional North American Christmas" does not feel like Christmas to her!! It took me until my adulthood to realize why she always wants to play volleyball on Christmas day.
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