After a heart-wrenching episode of Glee, I have returned to continue my story. I suppose I should write about Christmas. I will begin with the hunt to find the Christmas tree.
This is the first Christmas where I have had a real Christmas tree! In Latvia, every citizen is allowed to cut down a Christmas tree for their celebration. (In Latvian, it is called egle, and since it is shorter, I will refer to them as egles for the rest of this post.) So my family set out on a hunt on the 22nd of December.
Here we are in the forest! I was expecting to get a big, full egle, but that was not what we got. We decided on a tiny little tree that was shorter than me. At first I was disappointed, but when we put it in the stand, decorated it up and put the presents underneath, he looked quite handsome!
Not only did we have a real tree, but we also put candles on it! It was so beautiful!
We went to a concert in a Lutheran church on the 23rd. Then on the 24th, my host mom and I baked cookies the whole day! I was in charge of cutting out the gingerbread and decorating the sugar cookies. It was a fun job!
Just look at that creativity! There are 17 hearts on the Latvia cookie; One for each foreign exchange student! And the sugar cookies were Mexican themed with a splash of Star Wars. I was really proud!
Then that night, my host grandmother came over, and we had the Christmas meal. It was traditional Latvian food (like everyday) with a few specialties. They drank something called Kefirs which is pure dairy product. Let me tell you, it was slow. I stayed away from that stuff. We had to wait until 9 p.m. to open gifts; I guess it is some sort of family tradition. Once that time rolled around, we passed out the gifts one by one. It was really nice and relaxing. Christmas here was not all that special, but it was relaxing. It was nice. I got a bunch of gingerbread, a notebook and pens, mittens, a ticket to an opera, some cute earrings, and some other things. It was great!
I know people are wondering if I got homesick at all during the holidays. I Skyped my family on the 25th and that was very nice. But honestly, I have not been homesick since October. The thing I missed most though was the true meaning of Christmas. I didn’t really feel it here. We didn’t talk about Jesus at all and that made me really sad. Christmas is not Christmas without Jesus and I really felt it. I made him a gingerbread cookie for his birthday. I hope he enjoyed it. 🙂