fIt’s been a while since I’ve made a new post. I’ve been busy finishing up school, celebrating Christmas, getting ready for New Year’s, and touching base with family back home throughout the holiday season. I’ve also caught a little cold that’s been making my nose run, my throat tickle, and is plain wearing me down.
Regardless, Merry Christmas to all of you! I celebrated a Catholic Christmas for the first time, and I also went to a real mass for the first time. On Christmas Eve I invited over some of my friends for dinner with my host family. We ate fish and potato salad, and afterwards the younger generation played card games to pass the time until the midnight service. The mass was nice. I didn’t understand too much of what was going on, but I muddled through it okay. There were no hymnals, so I couldn’t read the music to sing along with the congregation, and it was strange not to sing ‘Silent Night’ on Christmas Eve. When we came out of the church, it was chilly so we parted ways fairly quickly. I came home and helped my host mom clean up from the big meal and crashed five minutes later.
On Christmas morning I didn’t have to go to school, and I mostly lazied around for the whole day. In the evening my host siblings came over. We opened presents then ate a dinner with spinach pita, potatoes and some salad. Later on, I skyped with my natural family and we opened our presents together. Modern technology is incredible. It wasn’t the same as other Christmases, but it was lovely to be surrounded by my family and hear (or be the victim of) my brothers’ awful jokes. It made me appreciate the love in my family that much more. The best present of all was a tin of my mother’s Christmas cookies. A small taste of home goes a long way. I got a little homesick around Christmas, but sampling the homemade fudge from the same recipe that we always use turned my melancholics into me fondly remembering Aaron burning my hand while we made fudge one year, Dylan throwing an iceball into my eye that resulted in a trip to the hospital, making snowmen after a big storm that blocked the driveway, Ashley and I hiding under blankets and then taking a nap because it was so warm, Annika and I making snow angels in our jeans and getting soaked with cold, wet snow, my dad making hamburgers for all of the kids who thought that oyster stew looked like boogers, and my mom going around with her camera and not being able to make it work on the first, or second, or third, or fourth attempt. I’m so thankful for the wonderful times I’ve had with my family, for the chance to experience Christmas in a new way, and for the future holidays that I will spend with the people I love.
School finished on Friday, so we had shortened classes. I’ll be out of school for an entire month! I passed all my classes with solid grades, even in German (which I was a little worried about), and the school cooks decorated the cafeteria with strings of Christmas lights and paper snowflakes in celebration of getting us out of there! After classes, Savannah and I went to a cafe to meet some friends, then I came home and slept until 1:00 pm today. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but I think that because I’m feeling just a little under the weather, it was my body’s way of fighting it off.
I’ve also been re-teaching myself how to knit! I was in a knitting club in elementary school when I was about eight or nine years old, and so relearning was easy once I got the hang of it. I had some traumatic mess-ups, and my first project was an embarrassment to the craft of knitting, but my second project is wearable and something to be proud of! I made myself fingerless gloves and am currently working on a hat to match them. They’ll be useful for any photography I do, because I won’t need to be taking my mittens on and off and on and off.
I’m looking forward to the next month. Winter is one of my favorite times of the year (along with all the other times of the year), and I’m planning to go skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, and more. I need to work more on learning Bosnian, and review my German as well. I’ll also probably do a lot of knitting and take out my mandolin again, and, of course, I’ll go out with my friends. And I’ll turn eighteen this month! I never thought I’d celebrate my eighteenth birthday in Bosnia and Herzegovina… life sure throws some funny curves at you sometimes. It’s pretty exciting to get chances like this and jump at it. And now it’s off to enjoy my winter abroad!