Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday thoughts

Another year has come and gone. Faster than it would have seemed yet in some ways I still feel as if I am running in quicksand. Perhaps 2009 will see some changes.

Christmas time it is in Bogota but it doesn't really feel like it to me. Likely the root of the problem is that when one lives in a place with no seasons, every day feels like the previous. Seasons are important. They mark the passage of time, the onset of holidays, and, more pressingly, when to alter one's wardrobe. But living in the seasonless Bogota, which has been drenched in rain for most of December and wholly unpleasant and miserable at that, leaves one rudderless as the sands of time slip by and less appreciative of beautiful spring days, scalding summer afternoons, crisp fall evenings, and frigid winter nights. Which, I should add, we seem to have every single day here in Bogota. Indeed, it is a common joke. Bogota doesn't have seasons, it has four seasons every day.

The turkey is brining, the tree is set, the lights aflickering, and Bing and Frank are offering Christmas songs which could only come from a northern climate. Soon I shall make cranberry bread (imagine finding cranberries in Colombia - yes, somethings are possible) and then the turkey will go in the oven and we shall busy ourselves with preparations. "Christmas Day" in Colombia is always the 24th and we have some family coming to share the evening with us. This is my 3rd Christmas in Colombia but the first with an American ensemble of good eats. It is what I must do to at least feel slightly connected to my world. Buñelos and tamales are not Christmas food.

On saturday we head for Santa Marta. It's a city on the caribbean coast and it shall be hot, sunny, and glorious. We need the heat. We need it to soak into our bones, open the pores of our skin, and rejuvenate our vigor. After so many dismal days and damp, cool air, a salty, ocean breeze sounds just about right. Life presents many challenges and stresses but at least for a week, we shall disconnect and recharge, so that we may return to the rigors of our normal lives with a fresh perspective and enthusiasm.

So on this Christmas eve, I send out my greetings and best wishes to both friends and family. Be it that they celebrate Navidad, Kwanza, or other rituals that I can not spell properly, let them rejoice in the moments they have with family and friends. And let them engorge themselves on delicious holiday eats.


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