January 3rd, 2008

Feliz Año Nuevo

Well, we have come to the end of a year that has been most eventful for Richard and I - filled with lots of ups and downs and changes. As we reflect on the new year we realize that our life has changed dramatically. After so many years of working hard and building the American Dream life of the middle class, we have been wrenched from the familiar and have not only survived, but are coming to feel comfortable and content and energized in our new life. So.... here comes our blog version of the Christmas letter without the postage....

For those who want to skip this part, I am putting it in background. Collapse )

So now we get to the holidays and the answer to the question I have had from so many of you - what was our first Christmas like away from family and the familiar? The obvious and correct answer is - very different. We never quite got into the full swing of the Christmas season - it was Richard's first Christmas without his mom, we didn't get our car until a few days before Christmas, and summertime and beach crowds aren't in our Christmas traditions. What we did thoroughly enjoy though was good friends and new traditions. We had a couple of dinner parties to show off and share the abundance of Christmas decorations that we packed with us and attended many other parties and dinners in the homes of new friends.

Here is Christmas dinner in our Miraflores home....

This was without a doubt the most socially active Christmas season I have ever experienced. I think that it's tough on everyone being away from the familiar at a time that evokes thoughts and memories of home and hearth. We deal with it over here by being close to those who share our traditions.

We did learn of a new tradition though that we thoroughly enjoyed. Christmas Eve is the time of celebration here - a big dinner with turkey and Panatonne (Peruvian fruitcake but better tasting)served at midnight, or rather just after the fireworks shows that go off at midnight. As Richard and I were quietly opening our gifts we heard loud noises and realized that the fun had begun. We spent about an hour sitting on the balcony and watching a whole array of fireworks shows going off all over Lima. While we don't have the full 180 degree view of the ocean we would have loved, our view to the southern beach regions of Lima does give us a great fireworks display. Some of the pyrotechnics were so loud that they set off car alarms in the area - a sound I will now always associate with Lima. A week later the New Year's Eve fireworks display was even more extensive and we again had ring side seats!

So we survived and we enter the new year quite comfortable in our new home. The next adventure is braving the Lima traffic in our newly arrived vehicle. Stay tuned!