Our traditional Christmas tree is serving us well and waiting for Santa in a non traditional setting:
For all those of you who have seen our Christmas staircase animal collection, rest assured, they all came through customs just fine! And the stockings are hung by.... well, on the bookcase, with care.
Lima too is highly decorated for the holiday. In fact, Christmas decorations started going up in the stores in late October. Every traffic circle has an artificial tree in the center and dancing Santa Claus figures are merrily singing Christmas carols in the grocery store. Christmas music - mainly in English - plays in the backgrounds in the malls and secret santas are popular in the schools. Thus, much is the same. However, the days are heating up, the beaches are becoming more crowded and we have finally had to turn on the air conditioning. Hence, this is a big change from our normal Colorado or Kansas Christmas seasons.
To share a sense of how much the U.S. impacts the world view of the celebration of Christmas I must share the challenge being faced by my empleada. She has a 5 year old son who is quite concerned that, since they have no chimney (very few homes do), Santa will not be able to get in. Moreover, since so many of the cartoons and Christmas television features for kids are imported from the U.S. and heavily feature snow, he is hoping that he will wake up Christmas morning to enough snow to build a snow man. I gave her a bag of fake snow (that I must have once sprinkled on the tree before I realized what a bad idea that was) and it has already been strewn all over her house to spice up the spirit of Christmas. Most Limenos have seen neither snow nor rain so the concept is kind of magical.
In preparation for the holidays we gave our first holiday party in the new digs:
The dinner was lovely but a bit of a challenge. We decided to do a Mexican meal and then spent some time changing the menu as we discovered that poblano chilies do not exist here - hence no chilies rellenos. We were able to overcome or modify for most of the other ingredient challenges but will do more research before preparing our next non-Peruvian ethnic meal.
Anyway, right before sitting down to eat our lovely, multi-course meal we experienced our first power outage. All lights within view of our apartment were out and stayed out for a few hours. When you live by the ocean and the world goes black it is very dark - impossible to tell where the land ends and the ocean begins. Thank goodness for candles and our over-packing. We had a Coleman battery powered camp light, an excess of flash lights and made it through what became a quite romantic feeling dinner for 10. Always an adventure!