Celebrating holidays in India over the last 2 years has proven to be similar yet different.
Similar in the sense that we gather with those closest to us, our family (if they are visiting) and friends, and do our best to uphold the traditions from home. Turkey, mashed potato's, pumpkin pie, the works. We think of all the people we are thankful in our lives and take time to reflect on how blessed we are to have each other, our health and our prosperity.
Different in the sense that we go on Christmas camel rides, chase our turkey's down the bazaar, cook the food in a toaster oven and celebrate in a warm tropical climate (many Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners were proceeded by a dip in the pool).
This year was no different. We had planned to meet up at The Only Place with 40-60 of our closest friends (same) but had to cancel due to the tragedy in Mumbai (different - but not that different than 911). We quickly flexed our plans (same) and ended up with 20-30 of our favorite people at Debesh's house with take out Thanksgiving dinner (different).
We also headed out to St Marks Cathedral for the annual Christmas Bazaar. Food stands, crafts, Santa, carols and Christmas ornaments to buy (same as church bazaars around the world) were accompanied by camel rides, dosa, chutney and 80 degree weather (different).
Are we feeling appropriately festive this season?? Yes and No. Yes in the fact that the kids haven't stopped talking about Santa, what's he going to bring, what they want, what he might want, etc... (same) No in the fact that we have to explain that while Santa will find us on our Christmas holiday in New Zealand (different), he is only bringing a very few very small gifts.
Its also a bitter sweet season for us in the fact that its our last holiday season in Bangalore. After 2 previous holiday seasons and 2 1/2 years of our lives, we are looking at coming home in early 2009. We are in that predeparture time frame of "this might be the last time we eat at xxx's restaurant" or "go to Cosmos mall" or "see yyy before they move back to the US/UK/Mumbai/Brazil" etc (sad). While we are VERY excited to see all our family and friends back home (and get back into our OWN house- happy!!) we are VERY sad to be leaving people that we are blessed to call our "family away from family". When we left MN 2 1/2 yr's ago, we KNEW we'd see everyone again, it was just a matter of time. We are trying to remind ourselves of that with our friends here. We WILL see them again, it just might be a very very long time and will definitely be in different circumstances:)
So, in the next few weeks/months, enjoy our posts of life in Bangalore as 5 loud americans (happy/sad). Soon we'll be posting about our life in Minneapolis as 5 loud americans (happy/sad).