I had the hopes of fitting this into one post this year, but who am I kidding? It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And this, partnered with a three-year-old experiencing Christmas-in-community for the first time? There’s just too much goodness.
I’m starting with the bits and bobs of Christmas that happened throughout December, following our lovely #မိသားစုmonday of setting up our Christmas tree.
Our tree soon became a photo opp for the community, so much that one friend said in English, “It’s the most fantastical tree I have ever seen!” I also overheard another friend telling someone else, “You can come take pictures in front of Kelli & Stephen’s tree. They’ll even take the picture and send it to your phone. And it’s free!”
We did quite a lot of cookie decorating, including a gingerbread cookie evening with our friend Jason’s English class. After teaching a group in our community for nearly a year, they are heading back to the States in a few months, and I’ll be picking up teaching this class. A cookie decorating party & English lesson was their farewell.
We also took advantage of a local coffee shop offering pre-made cookie dough and icing! This was our celebration of the end of a year of self-defense, consisting of a twelve-week course and six months of regular review.
The “mall” in town also had a huge Christmas tree this year, so I took the ladies by to see it. And mostly to take photos (for free!).
This is Asia, and we’re here for it 👊
I also went back that evening to the same coffee shop offering the same pre-made dough & icing (and their own clean up!) to do this with Oak & Stephen–for very, very obvious reasons.
We had a lovely time as a family, too! 🥰
Earlier in December, we did a 5k walk/run with Sojourn Studios to benefit local migrant education. This means we woke up extremely early with two of the jewelry artisans on one of the coldest Sundays of the year and walked–with a very little bit of running–a 5k!
We also had a Sojourn Studios Christmas party at a really lovely restaurant in town, and the ladies & their kids all loved it!
Oak was excited to have two of his best friends along.
Closer to Christmas, we did two Sunday night movie nights to watch The Star & Home Alone with the community. We pulled out all the stops: we bought dozens and dozens of hotdogs for snacks!
We did a craft with the kids just before and had red & green beans for the kids (and adults) to string.
In the midst of all the Christmas excitement, we also had a new baby born into the community! Pyo Pyo, one of our bread ladies, had her third child– a healthy little girl!
And still amidst the chaos, we saw Phway Phway off to university! The university system in Myanmar is a force to be reckoned with: they decide the university you’ll attend, what you’ll study, and when you’ll go. But they don’t tell you until just days before! It was a whirlwind for us walking through this with her through November and December, trying to maneuver the logistics while she also maneuvered health issues and a surgery the first week of school. She’s now healthy and attending class!
And, drum roll, please:
She’s the first in her family to graduate high school.
She’s the first in her family pass Myanmar’s infamously difficult matriculation.
She’s the first in her family to attend university.
She’s the first in our community attend university!
She’s the first recipient of The House Scholarship Fund!
More on that to come.
For now, we couldn’t be prouder. Really, I feel oddly parental-proud and we both nearly cried sending her off!
Stephen and I went to see the new Star Wars, because somehow they’ve managed to become a Christmas tradition?! Not sure how I feel about that, but an oversized Star Wars sweatshirt? I’m here for that.
And last, of course we started shopping for the community! Oak did surprisingly well at purchasing hundreds of toys that weren’t for him!
And then we started wrapping.
That was quite a few bits and bobs to fill the holiday season, but the main events are still to come! 😊