It is December 24th and what does that mean? It's Christmas! Unfortunately, I'm not going home for Christmas this year, even though I would have loved to. It's different from last year, where I also stayed in Trinidad for the Holidays, but it wasn't a problem. I wouldn't call it a problem this year, but it's definitely not as easy as last year.
I'll be on Skype with my family again in a little under an hour, then it'll really be Christmas, and I can't wait to see them all and chat with them and hear their voices and sing together and see what everybody got from the Christkind and all of those magical things that make Christmas Christmas.
But I'm not on Skype 24/7, so I did my best to make the Embassy as homely and as Christmassy as possible for all that time that my family is not with me via the computer screen:
There's a big snowflake on the door that leads from my bedroom to the balcony (which is decorated with lights).
I made myself a pair of Jingle Bell earrings for the various office parties and other events.
I sent out a bunch of handmade Christmas cards to friends and family.
I made and hand-wrapped small gifts for some of the people who accompany me here in Trinidad.
I made tons more snowflakes, as presents for friends and as decorations for home.
I bought nuts, even though I don't even have a nutcracker, but they're just so christmassy!
When you descend the stairs you're greeted at the bottom by a glittery tree with a handmade star ornament on it.
And as you walk up and down, poinsettia flowers and spheres and more snowflakes accompany you.
Even I got presents from friends: cards and a candle and origami paper! So exciting and wonderful!
And here's the most important of all my decorations: my very own Christmas tree.
We don't get real Christmas trees here in Trinidad, because of the climate. I refuse to buy a plastic one, because it just goes against everything I was brought up with and believe in. It's just not right, for me. So, in the spirit of living green, which I discovered big time this year, I made my own Christmas tree from an empty printing paper box that I got in our GIS lab at the department of Geography at university.
I cut out the tree and painted it green. I cut out candles and painted them white. I cut out ornaments and painted them in different shades of purple, then further decorated some of them with white and black glitter. I cut out a star, painted it grey and decorated it with white glitter to make it silver and shimmery. Then I glued everything onto my tree. Today, as it is now officially Christmas, I glued the little flames I had prepared (from an empty Mac'n'Cheese box with yellow paint and glitter glue) onto the tops of the candles, which are now "lit" and ready.
Here's my tree, not quite like at home, but as close as it can possibly get being as far away as I am.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go get dressed up and put on some make-up so I'll look pretty for when I meet my family for our celebration.