There is something about the holiday season that I adore. It must be that the weather finally falls to the low 60s at night (low 90s during the day), and your air-con starts to feel chilly at night.


Or maybe it’s the songs that I’ve started hearing at the preschool, the Christmas carols that blast all day for the students to learn their dance at the end of December.


The holiday season promises some must needed days off where I’ll do some traveling and go to countries and places I’ve never been with friends new and old.

Waiting for the bull fights. 
Happy New Year! (I don’t know if they’re really late or early…) 


Hand dyeing silk. 

The holidays also mean that the wedding season is upon us, and I can start wearing all my old outfits again, and even get a few new ones for upcoming events! That means matching shirt and skirt friends! I said ‘no’ to the collar, but said ‘yes’ to buttons all the way up the back! Is my new outfit “custom made” you ask? WHY, YES! Was it still too small at first? That question hurts my feelings…..and also, yes.

The only students that actually understand everything I’m talking about.
What can I say? I love me a selfie! 
My beautiful roommate getting married!
Counting the dowry!
Arriving at the church! She walked from her house so an umbrella is a necessity.

I bought Christmas cookies to decorate for a party, found old decorations stored away in drawers, and bought new tinsel to throw around our living room. My friends are the ones with the eye for decoration though, so I let them do the “heavy lifting.”

Who needs a ladder when you have friends? 
I tried to teach my friends how to make origami stars.


In fact, everything about this holiday season is beginning to look like…Christmas. Familiar and fun and exciting. I drove around the city running errands on my motorbike, asking if a movie was coming out in English. Getting passport photos made. Picking up my order of cookies. I wasn’t anxious. I didn’t have a stomachache. I looked around at shops as I drove, searching for the right places to stop, and I was going the speed limit, rather than ridiculously slow. I bought soup on my way home, and talked with my roommate’s friends that had come by the house for lunch. They took pictures with me because they wanted to- if for no other reason than because I’m a white foreigner. And it felt normal to smile and throw up my peace sign.

If these stories sound a little familiar, good. It feels familiar to me too. I like that I can look back and say “last year at Christmas…” or “this time last year we…”. It’s a good marker of where I’ve been.

These kids know how to get a front row seat at a wedding.

I recognize these places, these things, these feelings.



And yet, every so often, there’s still one person that seems unrecognizable…