We are very blessed! In 36 years of life this is the first Christmas we spent without our family. Christmas Eve was WONDERFUL! My friend, Fiona (from England) and her husband, Narilanto (from Madagascar) invited us to come over to their house (just down the road from us) around 2:00 pm. We just hung out, talked, and cooked yummy things to eat while the boys played with their son Marcus, who is 2 years old. We then had a traditional English Christmas Eve! We had special “crackers” (no, not the ones you eat, ones you pull apart and you find funny hats, a small toy, and a joke inside). We then put the boys to sleep (at their house) and the adults watched “White Christmas”. Ok, so we didn't watch all of it, we watched half of it because it was getting late. We then did a tradition that Fiona loves from her family. We took turns reading different scriptures and singing Christmas carols. It was just the four of us. It was such a nice time of worship and fellowship! We then woke up the boys and went home around 1:30 am!
Christmas morning was just our little family. We woke up around 8:00 am, went downstairs and had breakfast and opened presents! We didn't have stockings so we filled up my big rainboots for the boys instead of stockings! We had a very wonderful morning! Around 1:00 pm our Malagasy family came over (my friend Helena and her WHOLE family). There was about 14 of us. We prepaired a “traditional” American Christmas dinner (chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, corn, mashed carrots (a tradition from my side of the family) and apple pie). Helena brought rice (I don't think Malagasy can go one meal without rice!), and a vegetable/beef dish. We then spent the afternoon eating, talking, and singing worship songs in Malagasy and English. It was a GREAT Christmas!
Well, Happy New Year! I can't believe that we were blessed enough to welcome the new year in in Madagascar. What a blessing. My parents are here and we were fortunate enough to welcome the new year in at Madame Florentine's house (the mother of my dear friend Helena). It was BEAUTIFUL! There were about 20 of us. We sat out under the mango trees in Fiona's back yard (Florentine and her husband live in the guard house there). They had prepared goose for us (which is the best meat, according to them, that you can have for a celebration). We had given them the money to buy a live goose the day before and then they butchered and prepared it new year's day morning! (We got to meet the goose to thank him while he was still honking.) What a lovely time. We just sat around the table eating food, talking, being together. The children all played together, climbing trees, playing soccer, pretending to build things...
After everything died down a little bit my parents, the boys and Randy and I left to get some presents ready for Helena's family. We didn't want to give them at the party as we didn't have something for everyone there. So about 1 hr. later we went to Helena's house. They were THRILLED! We got Haja a nice fleece sweatshirt, Helena a watch (which she's always wanted but could never afford), and their two girls dolls. It was great to see their faces!