December and Christmas

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The last month has not felt like December at all. When I think of December and Christmas I think of lights strung on houses, being able to see my breath in the air, apple cider, snow, hats and scarfs, fireplaces ablaze with orange and yellow, songs about the weather outside being frightful(Christmas songs are strongly geared towards the northern hemisphere), but I have experienced few of these things this December. Instead I have had swimming, beaches, tank tops, flip-flops, ice-cold drinks, windows and doors wide open letting fresh air in, and these things are just as delightful as the December I am accustomed to.

This month I’ve got to do really amazing things. The first week of December I went to camp! It was really fun and i got to go kayaking, play volleyball, help out with a holiday club for younger kids. The camp was a great experience and I got the chance to meet some really cool people!

One of the highlights of my month was one Friday Eunice took us downtown to go shopping. Though I had been to downtown before for a tour of the city, this was a whole new experience. Because we were with Eunice we got to really interact with all the people. The people there were so wonderful and nice. We got invitations to parties, and at one store the people had us sit down and went and bought us Coke and kept trying to buy us lunch. They also took a bunch of pictures with us and said they were going to hang it on their wall and tell everyone that Americans has been here. It was great, probably the funniest  part of the shopping trip was the amount of marriage proposals. Eunice was so funny, when boys would ask how much our lobola (a type of dowry paid in cows) was, she would say that they would have to pay it to Obama because we were American. It was a great afternoon full of smiles and laughter, and I felt like I got to see another piece of South African culture.

We have also spent the last two Saturdays in Durban, which is a big city about an hour away on the ocean. It is so beautiful there! We spent the first saturday swimming, attempting to surf, and going to a dolphin Christmas show. This last saturday we got to go to a market that was full of local venders, and take a ride up to the top of the Moses Mabhiba Stadium (one of the stadiums used for the FIFA world cup in 2010). Heres some cool pics of the stadium and looking out over the stadium.Image

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I love Durban and hope to be able to go back a few more times before I leave.

And so that brings us to this week and Christmas..

My whole life my Christmas has been about the same I have spent it with the same people, in the same places, doing the same traditions. This year everything is different. My Christmas has been spent in a different country, in the middle of summer, a family that I have only known for two months. The tree is made of wires instead of artificial pine, the traditions are new to me. I spent Christmas Eve  at mass with my host Gran in contrast to the bright lights and loud music of my church in the U.S. These differences seem so much more intense during the holidays and I am constantly comparing their Christmas to the one I am used to. But this Christmas has been wonderful and great in so many ways. As i mentioned before I went to mass last night with my host Gran, her sister, Skye, My host brother Sebastian, and his cousin Jordan.I’ve been to a Catholic church before and I really do enjoy them, and I was glad we got to spend our Christmas Eve at this one. We then came home and had a big dinner, and did Christmas poppers, and then opened presents and ate ice cream. It was a great night! Today has been really relaxed and we just had a nice Christmas lunch.

It has been a wonderful Christmas and I am thankful that I get to experience another culture’s Christmas and their traditions. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and it is filled with joy and blessings!

~Grace

P.S I am getting pretty excited about being able to watch the Thunder tonight for the first time this season ! THUNDER UP!!!

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