Hey, it’s Christmas Eve!

“Have fun, Merry Christmas!” I call to Jasmin as I walk along the dimly lit veranda back to my apartment. She and Kyle are making their way down the stairs with her two suitcases; she is headed back to the States for two weeks. I am wearing a T-shirt, and the cool air is refreshing on my skin.

“Hey, it’s Christmas Eve!” I call after them.

“It is!” replies Jasmin.

“For feu-reunjis” laughs Kyle.

I push the door open and walk into my apartment. Jasmin gave me an early birthday present, never could I have been so unsuspecting as to what it was. Can you guess?

It was a bottle of maple syrup, with a big Canadian Flag on it, a bag of Moose Droppings, and another bag of Maple tea! I was a little shocked at first, maple syrup in Ethiopia??? Canadian flags! Moose tracks!

So I suppose your dying to know where this all came from. I guess the Canadian embassy had a table at a diplomatic bazaar that Jasmin and Kyle went to, score! Definitely looking forward to cracking open the maple syrup, and the maple tea smells like candy!

I guess that’s my one present opened for Christmas Eve Mom, Dad and Lindsay. (Family tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve.)

I had myself an extremely juicy and rather pink cheeseburger earlier, accompanied by downing a tablet of Malarone. I’m testing my body to see if I can take it without getting sick if I have food with it. Hopefully I won’t be spending the next two days in bed sick like last time.

Christmas Eve? What a weird thought, home alone, feels like just another day. You know what, I just hit play on last years Christmas playlist I can almost imagine it. It makes me think of Christmas for Bruce Willis in the first Die Hard. I wish I had a Christmas movie to watch, or a fire to sit by while lights twinkled on the tree, and snow outside to reflect the moonlight, or at least some freezing rain. First Christmas away from home!

So pictures. Hopefully there is a gallery full of pictures along with this post, of what? Well, there are some pictures of another trip to Asela, some of my chalkboard drawings, kids at school, the book day we had today, my internet device taped to a bottle to get the best reception, and me teaching step. Some of these I also stole off of Jasmin’s camera.

I have been doing a lot of teaching step the last few days, and the grade fours are crazy! All they ask is ‘Can we do the step dance? Can we do the step dance?’ And they are amazing, their grade four but they are picking it up so fast! I have realized, who am I to be teaching rhythm to Africans? The kids seem to be practicing it all the time though, and coming up with cool variations!

After book day today, (the grade 3’s did a number presentations) Zelalem came to me saying ‘play some music quick, quick’. I just seem to gravitate to sound systems and naturally I had my ipod plugged in and ready to go for such an occasion, so I pumped some tunes and low and behold the compound was flooded with dancing children. There are some pretty funny pictures there; I wish I could show you videos. Watching these kids dance is a lot of fun.

Here is one of my favourite Christmas poems, one that I have read to all of the students over the past few days. I know you all know it, but nonetheless, enjoy!

Anyway, merry Christmas Eve to all! Don’t worry about me; I’m drinking maple tea!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads:

And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,—

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below;

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name;

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!

Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So, up to the house-top the coursers, they flew,

With a sleigh full of toys, —and Saint Nicholas, too.

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head and was turning around,

Down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a pedlr just opening his pack.

His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook, whe he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, —a right jolly old elf—

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight:

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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