Monday, December 26, 2011

Festivus . . . for the rest of us

I'm an atheist. And I love Christmas.

Really, though, I love holidays. I love parties and celebrations and feasts and days off and getting together with family and traditions. So I love Christmas, but I also love Hanukkah, Solstice, Passover, Thanksgiving, New Years and the Fourth of July. I love singing Christmas carols, I really love some of the good old ones like Silent Night and Good King Wenceslas and Here we go a-wasailing (I also love wasail, yum) and Carol of the Bells, but I also sometimes just love singing Jingle Bells really loud. I love the Singing Christmas Tree. I love Christmas lights. I love seeing Denver all covered in snow and sparkling. I love the City and County building getting lit up and I love the Parade of Lights. When I was a kid, I loved getting up at 5am on Christmas morning and going downstairs to empty my stocking and watch cartoons and parades. I loved finding an orange at the bottom of my stocking. I love going swimming on Christmas.

I think that traditions are important and I appreciate the religious background to Christmas, I just don't happen to believe in Jesus as savior and son of God and all that. I like Jesus, I think he was a great guy and that we can learn a lot from him, so I don't mind celebrating his birthday. I also like to celebrate the birthdays of Martin Luther King Jr. and George Washington, cause they were pretty great guys too.

I don't get offended when people wish me a "Merry Christmas" as long as you don't get offended if I wish you a "Happy Holidays" because Christmas isn't the only holiday this time of year. Christmas is included in my "Happy Holidays," but since I don't celebrate Christmas for the religious aspect of it, it is equal in my mind with Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and New Years, which my family also celebrate with fun and tradition (I love lighting Hanukkah candles, and especially cleaning the wax off of the menorah, I don't know why, I just love playing with the wax).

This year for Christmas, my sister and her family cooked a holiday feast for us at their house- they invited their good friends and my aunt came down from Greeley. My mom (the only Christian among us) had to work until mid afternoon, but when she arrived we all sat down to a lovely meal of turkey and stuffing, with latkes from my aunt and pumpkin pie.

Happy birthday Jesus.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Time . . . to get back to writing

I have been home now for just over a year. That fact seems so strange to me. I have been home now for half of the time I was in Peace Corps and for twice as long as I traveled afterwards. It is funny sometimes how time can seem so different. How lengths of time are so different depending what you are doing. It is like how the last five minutes that you are waiting in class before a vacation starts can seem like they take years . . . and how hours doing something you love can seem to just fly by. The two years I was in PC and traveling are such BIG times. There were lifetimes worth of experiences squeezed into a little less than three years. Of course every moment wasn't exciting (January in Peshkopi seemed to TAKE FOREVER!). The year that I have been back in Denver does not seem to have taken very long and in many ways I am still adjusting to being home. I have maybe gotten over my NEED to tell everyone about PC, but I still bring up Albania and my time in PC often. I still refer to myself as having "recently returned" and I'm not sure when I will have to drop the "recently." A year ago, my parents picked me up from the airport and took me to a RPCV holiday party. A few weeks ago, I walked to that same holiday party. A lot has changed in my life in the past year, and when I walked into the party, some part of me still feels as though I just stepped off the plane from China.

You may have noticed that this is my first update in a long time. I have been keeping a journal in some form or another for most of my life and blogging seemed like a convenient way for my friends and family to keep track of me while I was gone, but I have pretty much stopped since I've been home. I have started to write in my journals again (something that I did only sporadically when I was gone), but I think that I have missed this outlet. There are some things that are private and belong only in the paper and pen version that sits on my bedside table and there are some things that I don't mind sharing with the world. I have never really known or cared if I had much of an audience (except my parents, hi Mom!) and I don't think that is much of a consideration for me right now. I think that I want to write for myself- to work out things that are going on and to update and remind myself. I doubt that I will come back to blogging as much as I was during my trip, but I think I will try to come back and update every once in a while . . . .