Being from Iowa, and having spent every Christmas in Iowa, Christmas time means COLD and often snow. So I simply was not able to understand Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. Christmas when it is HOT out does not make sense to me, and still seems surreal.
Anyways, our setting for Christmas was a little lame. Sue, Genna, and I were at Khayalethu Guest House in Pretoria (an awesome backpackers which I intend to use a lot), and the only other people there were 4 other PCVs from different training classes. It was awesome to have the run of the place and be able to trust everyone at a backpackers.
On Christmas Eve after, the three of us were trying to decide what to do for dinner, and had narrowed it down to having Roman’s Pizza or KFC deliver-yes, I know, it may be the saddest excuse for a Christmas Eve ever! As we were deciding between the two, the owner of Khayalethu came in with an Afrikaner man, who explained to us that he loved PC and is amazed at all the work we do, and was stopping by to see if any PCVs were around to come to Christmas dinner at his house that night. Things like that really DO happen in real life!
Now, normally I would not go to some random guy’s house in a city in a foreign country, but as the owner of the guest house (which nearly all PCVs use) knew him, and some PCVs from our training class had spent a good deal of time with the guy a few months ago, we decided it was safe. He also gave us his contact info and address to give to our families….sorry Mom, I didn’t forward the info.
So, a few hours later the Afrikaner and his wife pulled up in two separate cars to take 5 of us PCVs to dinner. They had a fancy table set and some delicious food that we stuffed ourselves with. And it was really neat to talk to a few Afrikaners, as that doesn’t happen in my village (no white people, remember). It turned our really depressing Christmas Eve plans into a classic PC memory that I’ll always remember.
The next day held no gift exchanges or caroling, although we did set up my ipod to the Christmas tune while we swam in the pool. Let me repeat that-I SWAM in a POOL on CHRISTMAS! How strange! I even got sunburned, on CHRISTMAS! Ok, yes I am easily entertained. So were the other two PCVs.
Riding back to Vryburg in a kombi with a sunburn was not so fun, especially as I was sitting next to a sunburned Sue and a sunburned Genna, and they both were radiating heat! But we survived the ride, and I’ll probably travel on the kombis rather than buses because it is far cheaper and faster, though not as comfy.
The rest of the school holidays I spent at home or at Sue’s, reading, sewing, watching movies, sleeping, reading, etc. Lots of reading….my host family doesn’t understand how I can enjoy reading for hours on end!