Friday, January 17, 2014

the HOT SUMMER SEASON of CHRISTMAS



This will be my 7th Christmas in Paraguay and I would think by now the 100 degree weather December brings wouldn’t be such a shocker.....but it is.  The heat coupled with high humidity hits like a wall as soon as eyes open in the morning.  It stalks you all day zapping energy and a desire to do anything physical.  This kind of heat has a way of creeping into attitudes making them irritable and emotions moody.  It’s the kind of heat that makes you long for the relief of a cold shower; relief that doesn’t last because as soon as you’re out the heat and stickiness greets you once more.  You go to bed just as hot and sticky as before the shower, with sheets thrown off, fan on high speed, and wondering why you’re so tired when you did nothing that day but sweat. 

 

It’s in this heat that we preparing our hearts and home for the season of Christmas.  No snow, mittens or hot chocolate for us in the Southern Hemisphere.  Instead we drink even more terere and eat watermelon.  The kids jump in and out of the pool all day and the adults sit as close as they can to catch their splashes.    

 

Christmas where we live is.....as most every day where we live is....tranquillo.  There are a handful of Christmas trees (all about 3 feet) in our neighbor’s homes and a few strands of lights on just a couple houses.  That’s about as outwardly Christmasy as people get around here.  December isn’t a time of gifts and over-the-top decorations.  December is about family coming home for a brief but sweet visit.  Country families are torn apart mainly for financial reasons.  Dad lives and works in the capital to learn money to put in a modern bathroom or add a barn to his property.  Daughters work in Argentina as maids and send money back for their babies who grandma is now raising.  Children live in neighboring towns to attend school or help a relative on his farm.  They may not see each other all year.  In December you can feel the excitement and anticipation as families await a glorious Christmas homecoming.

 

Family. 

 

That’s it.  No endless runs to the malls. No long wish lists to Santa.  No late night drives home from pageants.

 

It’s all about family.   

 

I asked my children separately what they wanted for Christmas.  Tyler and Micah said LEGOS, but the three older kids said they couldn’t think of anything they needed and all they wanted to do was be together.  That certainly wouldn’t have been my answer when I was their age; my room would have been littered with toy catalogues and my wish list a mile long.  But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at my children’s answer; after all, they’ve spent more Christmases in Paraguay than in North America.  And maybe all these years of hot lazy summer days during the Christmas season when I am zapped of energy and feet plopped in the kiddie pool WITH MY FAMILY ALL AROUND haven’t been in vain.  Even though I’m not totally accustomed to a summertime Christmas, I am learning to embrace the heat because it means we get to pass the terere around the circle a bit longer and talk just a bit more AS A FAMILY.  We smile and laugh more as we spend time outside watching the kids perform stunts and tricks for our entertainment.  We’re quicker to say yes to another hand of Skip-Bo or Uno or Monopoly.  In the evenings, a family movie under a fan on full speed is welcomed.  Thanks to the Paraguayan heat, Christmas for us is becoming synonymous with family and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 


1 comment:

Whitney said...

Such a great post!