One of my most popular posts so far was the one when I did a highlight of each day in the prior week. (I'm too lazy to go find that and put a hyperlink to it, so you'll have to do a little old-fashioned looking on your own if you want to read it.) Since it has now been two action-packed weeks since my last post, I'm going to adopt the same, cliff notes style updating here. Commence.
23 December - No power at the church, so went to the internet cafe to use their power to make the schedule for the Christmas program. It looked lovely on my computer and wretched printed. (I've been using a lot more British vocabulary lately.) Leah and I spent hours organizing and personalizing the children's Christmas gifts. They each got a pretty nice t-shirt courtesy of a donation from the local bank.
24 December - Lahash Christmas program was a bang up success. The kids sang "The Little Drummer Boy" and did a fantastic job, despite my and Leah's jitters over the abysmal final rehearsal. These kids are true performers. I spoke a bit on the importance of children in the Christmas story, and we distributed the gifts to the children. I felt a bit like Santa. The new American volunteer from the Mennonite Church baked a cake, which I got to each a bit of, and it was fabulous. I took an hour long nap, then we had a four hour church service from 8pm to midnight.
25 December - After midnight, Leah came to stay the night, and we used the candy canes from her mom's care package to make peppermint lattes (ten minutes before we went to bed). My family called in the morning, then we had church again, and I had a fancy new dress to wear. I did manage to keep my dress clean although it was storming pretty fiercely for most of the morning. Some friends came over for dinner (fried chicken=yummmmmmmmmmm), and we played cards all afternoon.
26 December - Rested after a hectic week and watched movies. Played cards with my roommate Jacky and our friend Warioba.
27 December - Church, then friends over for lunch. Napped and watched the entire first season of Firefly.
28 December - Severely disappointing day because power was out all over town, so when I made a special trip to town to pay my power bill, they were closed until the power came back on. (definition of irony?) I couldn't even treat myself to ice cream like I had planned because the freezers were all off.
29 December - Was supposed to have a driving lesson, but didn't. Instead I cleaned my office and continued my preparation for a month's worth of sermons I have to preach, starting next Sunday.
30 December - Continued sermon preparation and watched the entire first season of Psych. Skipped out on the standard Wednesday church service because I was (ashamed to admit) tired of being in church.
31 December - Evening church service for four+ hours. Spent about an hour of that praying for a girl who had been committed to be a witch doctor by her family, but she now loves Jesus, so she's trying to fight some pretty severe demonic oppression. I know that sounds pretty out there to some of you, but that's normal life here, and that's what I was doing at midnight.
1 January - Church again in the morning for four+ hours, and again, I had a new dress for the occasion. I continued sermon preparation and watched a movie. (For photos of me in these fancy new dresses, you'll have to read my January/February support letter. If you aren't on that list, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address.)
2 January - I was meant to go to a picnic for the children in the Compassion sponsorship program, but I didn't go. Some friends came over for lunch, and I spent the rest of the day watching one of my new favorite movies: Lars and the Real Girl. My grandma called in the evening, and I spent most of the time whinging about the food that I miss. Honestly, she probably thinks I hate my life because everytime she calls I'm complaining about something stupid. For the record, I love my life!
3 January - Church again, a special long service for the new year (came in at over five hours long). After church, Baba and Mama Askofu took Leah and I with their kids to have a picnic at the University of Dodoma campus. The picnic food was PIZZA!!!! They bought two pizzas from the local hotel, and we got two slices each of veggie pizza with cheese on it. I think the last time I had cheese of any kind was in Kampala in September.
4 January - My normal day of rest, I spent my last day of holiday cleaning our kitchen. I watched the entire first season of Arrested Development while I did that and cooked myself some fried potatoes and onions.
So you can see that my holidays were neither glamorous nor all that fun. I didn't mind too much, although I did have a couple of rough moments of missing home. Fortunately Annie was always close by her phone to text message with during the tough times.
I received one physical Christmas present, two pieces of bubble gum from my sponsored girl Anjela, but when something that precious is my gift, what else do I really need?
I didn't make any formal resolutions, because I feel like all of 2009 was my resolution to be where I am for 2010. Everything was so difficult in 2009, from the physical to the spiritual to the emotional, and I feel like I've landed exactly where I'm meant to be for 2010. With that kind of conviction, what resolutions do you make, except to be grateful? So that is my "resolution" - to be grateful for finally being settled where I've been trying to get for so long. Moving forward and making goals doesn't seem right just now, I think reveling in this time is the right thing. So in spite of my complaints about running out of books to read and craving Doritos and chicken salad, I'm really blessed and grateful to be here. I have a great life.