Not being home with family for Christmas, especially when you're on the other side of the world, can really make a person homesick during the holidays. Thankfully now there's Skype, email, Facebook, and cell phones to keep in touch with loved ones. However much I do love Skype, it's just not the same as being woken up at 7:00 am Christmas morning by my sisters and brother to see what Santa brought.
Although I hate not being home for the holidays, I do enjoy being in Moldova with my friends and host family.
Most people here in Moldova do not celebrate Christmas on December 25th; they celebrate on the Old Christmas which is on January 7th. My host grandparents live in a village close to the Romanian border, and in Romania people celebrate on the 25th, so they too celebrate on the 25th. So I did end up getting to have a Merry Christmas yesterday!
In the morning the host family went to buy a Christmas Tree. (I found this out when I woke up at 12:30 in the afternoon...) When I woke up we decorated the tree.
|Host brother wearing a University of North Dakota sweatshirt that my mom sent for Christmas present last year.|
|Host brother, host sister, and host dad decorating the tree|
|Our finished Christmas Tree|
Shortly after the tree was decorated, I heard my host brother screaming at the top of his lungs. I ran out of my room to see what was wrong, and it turned out that Santa - Mos Craciun - had come to our house. He brought me a shirt (which I wore that day!), host sister a shirt, host dad some gloves, and host brother pajamas. Host mom didn't get anything because she forgot to write a letter :)
After we decorated the tree, we went to the village to celebrate Christmas with my host mom's side of the family. We were at her parents' house, which is where we always go for celebrations. We ate shortly after arriving. There was turkey, various salads, homemade sausage, pelemenii (which is a type of dumpling filled with meat) and rooster jelly. Rooster jelly is basically chicken broth in a jello form with meat stuck in the middle. The meat in this one was pork, and it is served cold. (I don't eat this particular dish!) At the end was a tasty cake the host mom made with cherries in the middle.
|Cheers to a Merry Christmas!|
After eating, the kids sang carols for us. It is tradition that on Christmas and New Years children go around to houses and sing carols. In return, people give them money, baked goods, and candy. If a caroler is older, they will occasionally get a shot of homemade vodka!
|Kids receiving candy, money, and baked goods after singing carols.|
Even though I wasn't home with my real family, it turned out to be a Merry Christmas with my host family!
On Tuesday I'll be heading to Brasov, Romania for a vacation for a week. When I come home, it will be the Old Christmas on January 7th, so it'll be another Christmas for me!