I will be sad to miss out on all the free tamales, though.

I won’t be celebrating Navidad here in Guatemala this year. My family is having a Hawaiian Christmas instead (I know, I’m a very spoiled Peace Corps Volunteer). I want to feel more guilty about leaving since this is prime integration time (the community loves it when I’m around for holidays and big celebrations) but I was here last year and, honestly, I’m a little Guatemala’d out.

The frustration surrounding work and the standstill we’ve been at for months really got under my skin. Plus, my trusty youth groups have really been testing the boundaries of my patience… well, the ones that still bother to show up that is. The guilt/anxiety I feel over not accomplishing big impressive things hasn’t abated either. So, this vacation is a welcome escape, a chance to rest, take a step back and return rejuvenated and ready for the new year and the new mayor.

Plus, I get to see my family. And eat all sorts of delicious food I can’t get here in Guat. And lay on the beach. And cheer on my alma mater at the Hawaii Bowl. Well worth all the tamales, ponche and fireworks I’ll be missing here, I think. Not that the locals haven’t made their arguments to try and convince me otherwise.

“So what do they do over there for Christmas?”

Well, it’s mainly a time for family. We eat a lot of good food and share gifts.

“So there aren’t posadas? Or firecrackers?! Sounds boring.”

And I don’t know how to break it to them that I personally find the nightly posada hour of singing and prayer fest less than thrilling and don’t understand the allure of spending money on things that explode with no visual spectacle to accompany the noise. So I guess this is just going to be one of those contests of cultural superiority we agree to disagree on.

Feliz Navidad.

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