This last year I had the best Christmas present: My sister Rachel, along with her friend, Katie, flew all the way here to spend Christmas with us. It was no surprise as it had been in the works for a few months, but still a great gift.
Colton and I picked them up from the KLM arrival (there is only one a day) at 8:50pm. The following morning we took them to our church here in Arusha so they could enjoy the experience and meet some of our friends. From there we went to a local favorite of Ted’s (Colton’s Dad), Lenana. After experiencing some local food & chai we drove about 45min out of town and up the mountain to stay with our friends Simone and Pieter.
It was important that my sister met Simone since she is my work partner and closest friend here. She has been a blessing in my life since moving to Arusha. Simone and her fiance, Pieter were leaving that week for Holland so we had to cram in a visit with them before they left. No time for jet leg! Colton only stayed for the afternoon before heading back to town. The rest of us girls stayed the night. Other than one of their dogs running into a table and proceeding to have a seizure it was a very relaxing and nice visit at the farm. We returned home the following day.
Since Colton still had work that week I took the girls around Arusha to “see the sights”. This mostly consisted of visiting several coffee shops/cafes, the Masai Market, a mani/pedi session, and a short drive out of town to visit our old stomping grounds from when we first moved here.
That weekend, when Colton was finally on holiday, we packed the car and drove to Dar. The first few days were spent in Dar before taking the ferry to Zanzibar – which might have been a slightly overwhelming experience for the girls as we had to push, cram, and hustle our way through dense crowds of people in order to get on and off…but a good experience nonetheless.
Our time in Zanzibar was spent exploring Stone Town by foot, drinking spiced chai, and snorkeling in the Indian Ocean. Upon returning from Zanzibar we spent one last night in Dar before leaving at the crack of dawn (like most of our days they were there) to drive back to Arusha. This was on Christmas Eve day.
Christmas day was filled with delicious cinnamon rolls made by Rachel, lots of fun and special gifts, and an amazing feast of ham, mashed potatoes, & veggies prepared mostly by Colton. This was my first christmas spent with anyone from my family in over 3 years so it was very special.
The following day was a Safari to Tarangire National Park. Luck was on our side as we saw lions, cheetahs, and of course elephants, zebras, buffalo, and other “usual” sitings. After stopping at the lodge for a few drinks and snacks we headed home. The last couple of days were spent laying by the pool and taking the girls to the Masai Market for souvenir shopping. They left on the 28th. It was a fast trip but so great. Colton and I were so thankful my sister was able to come visit us. She was the first of my family to come visit and see our lives in Tanzania.
See more pictures from our Christmas holiday below.