We gifted banana bread and cut out cookies this year, making sure to add a diabetic version of both. (Based on no factual statistics, we would guess that Chile has the highest rate of diabetes of any country.) We really enjoyed taking the plates of treats to our neighbors' houses, which gave us a great excuse to visit and see how things were going with each one. We were reminded that the best mission work is done just by being a friend and visiting wit
h families. We wished that we had taken more time to talk with each one throughout the year, and focused less on meetings, activities and administration. Perhaps a New Year's resolution in the making...
We attended "midnight" mass at 9pm. With a shortage of priests and four communities to serve, not every chapel can have a mass at midnight. After mass, we shared hot chocolate and "pan de pascua," a type of fruitcake, with the community. We then had Christmas eve dinner at a neighbor's house. This family is originally from Ecuador and understood
what it's like to be far from home during the holidays. Joshua loved playing with their two 6 year old cousins and rearranging their furniture, a hobby that he's picked up recently. Santa Claus arrives at midnight in Chile and the children open their presents after dinner, then run to the streets to play with their new toys. We walked home around 1 am to a chorus of laughing children and fire crackers. We decided to wait until morning for our presents.
On Christmas morning, we awoke to find that Santa had not passed us by, although we did fear finding coal in a couple of stockings. Joshua smiled and giggled at each new gift and absolutely loved every. single. one. Including the socks and undershirts. We did, however, find our gift to him, a picture Bible, still wrapped in the trash can, two days later. Apparently, he thought it was really fun to throw wrapping paper into the can, and the fact that the paper was concealing a gift didn't really matter that much to him.
We continued celebrating until just recently, when we realized that yet another holiday is upon us. We are now preparing for New Year's, where we'll spend the night celebrating with another neighbor family. We'll let you know how Joshua likes staying up past midnight and eating a bunch of junk food yet again.