If I were home right now I'd be busy traveling or packing or cooking or shopping to prepare for the festivities of Christmas. Instead, we're trying to manage the heat, humidity, bug bites, and sunburn! A very different experience indeed. It's not entirely uncommon to see a Christmas tree or other holiday decoration here in Samoa, but the observation of Christmas is very different here. Our Christmas Eve & Christmas Day will likely include church, singing, food, and rest. Some families give gifts, but it is rare. Since extended families all live together in the same villages or even in the same homes, travel is certainly not an issue. The busy, sometimes frantic, pace of holidays in the US is most certainly a world away.
I presumed I'd feel some pangs of homesickness when we were approaching Christmas Day, being so far from Jarren & the rest of my family and knowing the celebrations are going on without me. However, because of our drastic differences in culture & climate, the realization that Christmas is here feels so unlikely. If it weren't for the occasional glance at my calendar reminding me of the date & time, I'd be certain it was August, not December.
A couple of photos of our last few days: Monday involved a trip to the Samoan national art museum and the a visit to cool off at beautiful Papaaee'a, or "sliding rock" - a natural water fall you can slide on into several nice pools. It was a great day to cool off & enjoy such a great spot!