Christmas has been flooding the newspapers and TV with ads offering great deals enticing folks to spend money they rather conserve or pay bills with instead. Christmas songs buzz through my head and aromas of cookies and pies fill my home and yet I refuse to believe it’s a few days from now. My minimal shopping has been done but my craftiness in making wearable creations for gifts has yet to be finished. I can get it done within the day as long as energy and inspiration sustain me. I just can’t understand where December disappeared too.
A year ago, I was roaming the humid streets of Moshi, Tanzania, my only clue Christmas was upon me was the few shops selling Christmas lights, cheap ball ornaments or a few short x-mas trees. Occasionally, I’d walk into a little shop and here the classic jingle over the radio of snow falling and chestnuts roasting, and knowing I was furthest from the picturesque holiday scene.
On Christmas eve, stomach pains unbearable, I mustered all my energy and walked a few blocks to a store I knew sold all 5 items I needed- a few candy bars, crackers and Amarula, South Africa’s version of Bailey’s made with Amarula fruit, a fruit elephants love. I wore my green sarong lightly around my waist and a black t-shirt(which was more see through than it should be). I waited in line and prayed for customers to move quickly through the line. I wanted to scream, “Hurry up” but I knew it wouldn’t help. I’d just be given quizzical look of “what’s wrong with the woman muzungo?”
I managed somehow and the moment I stepped out of the store, I sat down with my brown bag of goods. People gave double takes or just stared, curious what I was doing sitting out side the store. I no longer cared if I was blending in at the moment, I felt awful- hot flashes and my stomach doing gymnastics. When I felt I had a bit of energy to pick myself up, I did and patiently got myself back to home- my tiny room at the backpackers. I know I took a nap, hoping I’d feel better to share in the merriment of Christmas eve but I didn’t. I just pretended I felt better.
Hostel staff and travelers gathered around for a good time and then we hit the regular bar/club. I was in no shape to be dancing or being out but I went anyhow. I don’t remember too many of the details but I remember my stomach shared it’s thoughts with the pavement a few moments before getting into a taxi to come home.
This year I’m happy to be home, in the presence of family and friends. I refuse to wrap myself around consuming and do my best not to be part of the wasteful system. It’s great to be home. My only concern is what comes next but time will ultimately tell, as it always does.