29 Dec Christmas Far From Home
Christmas far from home
When we were young, Christmas was an eagerly awaited holiday, there was just an excitement that filled the air that period. I remember my siblings, my cousins and I used to start preparations for the day two weeks earlier on. It involved going to the bushes to look for the perfect pine tree branch for a Christmas tree. When everyone was satisfied with their tree at the corner of their house, we then went to the shops to buy balloons and paper decorations, which were also cut very specifically to spell ‘merry Christmas & happy new year’ stuck on the wall. The house looked ridiculously decorated with all colors, but our parents let us do our thing which was really cool.
What I loved about Christmas was that I was sure I was getting a new dress, new shoes, and even though my hair was shaven the whole year, that time it would be braided at least before schools reopened, my primary school girls used to shave their hair as well. But the enthusiasm was that in every house, there will be chapatis which were rare for us in the normal days, lots and lots of meat, my dad always slaughtered this time and bought sodas, and so it was a party! It was even better if our extended family joined up with us to celebrate, when our moms are cooking together sending my cousins and I left and right, then all of us eating together, laughter in the air, aah good times.
Then I grew up, and realized that the exhilaration and the Christmas vibes were reducing as each year passed, somehow the whole buzz was not much. I guess as a child, one appreciated every little thing like a new dress, or getting to eat chapatis but, as an adult, you get used to having those things, they become so readily available, and so the excitement is less. What is still beautiful especially if you live far from home, is travelling back home, meeting up with all your family and celebrating Christmas together. Instead of focusing on material things, our family bonds and the love for each other is the center of our attention.
I especially love my family, and our traditions. Our church service is usually at crack of dawn so by 6am all of us are up preparing to go to church, it’s always a lovely time celebrating the birth of Jesus and praying that He is born in our hearts. It’s a one time in church that its all about joy and happiness and everyone is in a praise, happy, loving and hopeful mode. Back home as my nephew is entertaining us with all his awesomeness and keeping us on our toes, we divide up our roles in the kitchen. My sister-in-law prepares really sweet and soft chapatis, my brothers with the meat, and mom and I with the stews, however, I don’t put 20 litres of water in the soup as it is largely believed about our community recipe. In fact, last year I made a side dish of very delicious beef platter, before I could open my eyes after prayers, my family had munched everything.
This year, I took so many leave days in the middle of the year, travelled to Nairobi several times and went home twice, so come December, I didn’t get enough leave days to travel home. I felt like I could cry when all my siblings, including the new member of our family little nephew of mine got home and mom was sending me pictures, it was a true FOMO. Lucky for me I also have family here in Mombasa and friends close to my heart.
When I came to Mombasa, my sister welcomed me, and through her, I made really good friends who became family. We spend good times together and we have each other backs. So, this Christmas season, I would be spending with this family and it was wholesome. We have had mad fun activities from all white parties, weddings, boat rides, lunch outs, all night clubbing, crazy amounts of photography, but most importantly good conversations, am grateful.
On Christmas day, after breakfast, my sister, her niece, the little princess and I agreed to go out somewhere for the day. My sister googled and found a little place in the outskirts of Mtwapa that had a restaurant, a bar, swimming pool, and a free area that was cozy, so she called and booked a table. Once we were ready and loaded our bags in my sister’s car, the car refused to start! First attempt, second, third, no success, we started sweating, probably because we were standing under the scorching sun, but this was nerve wrecking. She called her mechanic, but it was Christmas, he didn’t pick up, I didn’t want to think that this was another episode in ‘how to ruin Christmas’ series. As she tried to call someone who could help, I ordered a bolt, the cost was sh.640 on the app, but knowing bolt that would end up being sh.1000 or more. The driver was on the way, my sister was on the bonnet, someone had suggested to tap the engine and see if it will revive, she was tapping it with the car keys. On ignition, the engine ran and that sound was like a Christmas miracle, we were all like, ‘phew, thank goodness’. I had to cancel the bolt and the driver was really not happy about it.
The place was just like in the photos, small but cozy, with lots of green trees and flowers, a cool breeze was lingering. There were like other two families already there in different tables, and their children in the swimming pool. We had cold drinks as we waited for the food, we had ordered on the phone to be set. The chef had misunderstood our order at first but when it was brought the second round, it was finger licking delicious.
The little princess has phobia of water, is what we are thinking, because she was uncontrollable when we took her to the pool, we had to bring her out. That was not enough for her though, as soon as any of us jumped into the pool, she would come running, screaming, “no, no, no!” waving her finger, its adorable. It’s like she was adamant she doesn’t want to die in the water and also no one she loves is going to drown on her watch, that’s the way she behaves every time she is at the beach, in the end no one really enjoyed the swim.
We spent the whole day there, eating, drinking Gin, and enjoying the music, the DJ was really good. Dark came and we went on chilling, we danced, made tiktoks, a live band started at 7.30, it was a really relaxed, lovely evening. The little princess slept on the sofa, she can sleep through any noise, and after waking up she continued to dance, she is a whole vibe.
I was in constant communication with my family back home, and they were having a good time. I as well had a beautiful Christmas, and am thankful that even though am far from home, am surrounded by family.
Merry Christmas and happy new year everyone full of joy and love!