Aside from that things have been very laid back. We have had a two week "vacation" or as the Peace Corps likes to call it "a split in training" or "community diagnostic"…call it what you want but it's been a vacation and I couldn't appreciate it more. Lots of rest, lots of beach, lots of reading, and a whole lot of NOTHING. Spending the holidays away from my friends and family has been hard but I am so thankful for all the other volunteers who make it a little bit easier. In Colombia they celebrate Christmas on the 24th with a big dinner, loud music, and drinking, as usual, and opening gifts at midnight. We got all dressed up and had a fabulous little celebration and my family gave me a great Colombian bag that I've been talking about, typical from the region of Guajira and a pretty bangle made of palm leaves. B-E-A-UTIFUL. I certainly was not expecting to receive any gifts from them and thought it was so nice of them to include me in their celebration. My mom sent me a package of gifts for my host family and thanks to the enigmatic postal system, it's been trapped in customs for the past 3 weeks. But who doesn't love receiving gifts at all times of the year anyway?! Hope they arrive sometime soon.
On Christmas day my family was kind enough to let me invite all the volunteers to our house for a Christmas potluck dinner. Since the 25th is like any other day here in Colombia it was so nice to have all us gringos together for some good American food and company.
In other news, Junior de Barranquilla, the local soccer team won the national championship. The celebration that followed their win looked more like the celebration of a world cup win or the newly gained independence of a country. It was wild! We had gone to a bar by my house to watch the game and when they won the streets went crazy. Everyone who had a beer began to throw anything that was in the bottle into the air, drenching anyone surrounding them. Also, bags of flour appears out of no where and people started throwing that in the air too. Dancing in the street, jumping on top of buses, climbing street lights, and an endless caravan of honking cars followed. We then went to Calle 84, which is where most of the night life is and watch an even wilder celebration. After running around in the street and jumping for a couple hours, we were tired and ready to go home. I found out the next day that my host siblings stayed out until 4 in the morning. Colombians have boundless energy when it comes to partying, I have found.
I'm off tomorrow to Parque Tayrona, a national park on the coast right outside of Santa Marta, to celebrate New Years Eve. I'm so excited to spend a weekend on the beach with some of the girls in our group. I'm going to go ahead and set a resolution to update my blog more often this coming year. Happy New Year everyone!! I hope that the New Year brings you many blessings, health, and happiness! Until next year!!