Achievement unlocked: Christmas Spirit!
My little Christmas party was just what I needed, thanks to a little help from my friends. One donated a tabletop tree (as seen at left); another provided cookie decorating supplies; a third brought an iPod stuffed with Christmas tunes. I handled the food, of course. There was mulled wine and gingerbread and pumpkin pie and assorted savory snackables. The hand-imported Texas beef tenderloin morsels were particularly well received. Things in general are beginning to look a lot like Christmas, in a way that they absolutely were not a week ago.
On the other hand, Christmas is now pretty much all I can think about. In particular, my Christmas R&R. With nine days to go I cannot stop thinking about the amazing food to eat, people to see, tasks to accomplish, and things to buy in the States. I’m even dreaming about it. The other night I had a terrible nightmare that I got to the airport to go home and found that I didn’t have my passport or a suitcase with me. TOTAL PANIC. I have (so far) resisted the urge to actually start packing my bags, though that doesn’t mean a fairly detailed mental packing list hasn’t been made.
I don’t remember being this obsessed last year. A cursory perusal of last year’s writings suggests that I was not; while plenty of holiday enthusiasm is displayed, the gnawing hunger for America that’s been creeping up on me lately is nowhere in evidence. Last Christmas I has only been here six months, so Conakry was still fresh and exciting. I was also wrapped up in work, whereas this year the comparatively relaxed and predictable pace of consular has left me with more time to daydream about Tex-Mex and high-speed internet.
But I only have to obsess for nine more days, and then I can hop on a plane and make my American dreams come true. And in the meantime I can try fending off that gnawing hunger with leftover gingerbread and pie. It’s worth a shot.