A couple months ago, I started making plans with friends to spend a small Thanksgiving together – I figured it wouldn’t be much, but it’d be better sitting at home on a holiday. As you can maybe tell by that attitude, I’ve had a pretty pessimistic view of what our holidays would be like this year. The prospect of not being home for Christmas for maybe the first time in my life (and Matt not being with his family for Thanksgiving for the first time in his life) was really getting us down. But I underestimated the wonderfulness of the PCV community – maybe it’s just because I was dreading it, but we’ve already had a holiday season that way exceeded my expectations!
For Thanksgiving, Peace Corps staff brought all the volunteers to Rabat to have a huge dinner, complete with deliciously cooked Butterball turkeys (also lots of couscous, lentils and dates… it was a multicultural holiday). We sat out under big tents, eating (mostly) American food and speaking English, and even got to go out that night to party with a LOT of PCVs. Unconventional, yes, but it also made for a fantastic day spent in good company, and I’ll take that for a holiday any day.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving we got to celebrate the second big holiday in November – The Game. We had some other Ohio and Michigan people over, made a big pot of chili, and (despite the nerve-wracking game) had a great time watching OSU pull off the victory. We even rounded off the evening with a Euchre tournament to complete the Midwestern experience.
This past weekend I got to celebrate Christmas with a bunch of my friends in the area (OK I know it’s a little early for that, but we’re all traveling over the actual holiday). We had a girls’ night cookie exchange party, complete with Christmas-themed photo booth, Christmas music playing non-stop, mulled wine, and I think about 6 Christmas movies. We had a great time overdosing on all things Christmas together before we split up for the holidays.
I was even lucky enough to find a little plastic Christmas tree on sale this weekend, which Matt and I promptly set up when I got home. We wanted to bring a little Christmas cheer to our house for the most exciting event of the season – my family’s visit! They decided only a few months ago to come visit this winter, which of course did wonders to brighten my holiday attitude. I feel like a little kid again, excitedly counting down the days until Christmas and all the presents under the tree – except this year the present is my family :). No, we won’t be home for Christmas, but with the help of Peace Corps staff, friends, and family, we’ve been able to bring home to Morocco for the holidays, and I wish you all a happy holiday season!