Christmas – The New ‘Normal’

I realize I only post about the bigger events in my life. One day I hope to make a few random posts about everyday life here, or maybe do ‘A Day in the Life of Us’ post every now and then, but that might be reaching a bit too far for me at the moment! So until then, you will just keep getting one big post about a big event in my life every few months or so.

With that being said this post is about Christmas 2016 – Yes its a few months late, and yes, I feel like I recently just wrote about last Christmas with my sister here. But regardless, here is Christmas 2016…

As Americans, and Westerners, when most of us think of Christmas the thoughts of cold weather and snow, twinkling Christmas lights, gingerbread houses, Christmas music, hot chocolate, warm fires, cozy blankets, family gatherings and decorating of trees, the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and other ‘comfort’ scents all come rushing into our minds in reminiscence.

Every year since moving to Africa (for 4 Christmas’s now) I have dreamed in slight hope that we will experience a Western-world festive Christmas season with my family. Every year I think ‘maybe this year we will have a ‘real’ Christmas again’, and every year the thought gets put aside until the next year.

Although there will always be a small part of me that wishes to spend the Christmas season back home with my family, and in a country that thrives from the holiday madness and festivities, I am so thankful and blessed for the life I have been given with my husband and his wonderful family.

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Stonetown, Zanzibar

The truth is, for most our holidays we are privileged to spend them in a tropical paradise, which has become ‘normal’ for our holidays. Thats just what you do. In fact, there aren’t many other options here! For Christmas our go-to holiday vacation is Zanzibar…and this is ‘normal’.  Who would ever have imagined?

Its easy to think of it as ‘just another trip to Z-bar’ and forget about how incredibly blessed we are that this is ‘normal’ for us. We realize this is a privilege that a lot of people will never experience in their life, and we hope to never take that for granted.

This last Christmas, we met up with Colton’s parents (who also live in Tanzania) in Dar es Salaam and spent a few days enjoying nice ‘Western’ restaurants that we don’t have down where we live, and laying on the beach.

On Christmas Eve day took a ferry through the Indian Ocean to Zanzibar where we stayed across the island at a simple Japanese-owned bungalow. The Bungalows were situated overlooking the white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The food was home-cooked and fresh (fish, sushi, pasta). Special ‘family’ dinners were prepared for all guests on Christmas day and New Years Eve. We all enjoyed a home-cooked buffet, explanations of the traditional Japanese foods, live traditional Tanzanian entertainment, and personal greetings by the owner.

From there we spent a few days wondering the narrow, winding and historical streets of Stonetown. Each doorway has a story – most probably heartbreaking as they looked upon the beginning, middle and end of the Arabic slave trade and its after effects.

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Streets of Stonetown

The highlight of Stonetown, for us at least, is dinner at the open-air food market located on the ocean front. This is a perfect place to watch the sun sink down into the Indian Ocean while getting a taste of Zanzibar flavor.

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Sunset in Stonetown

We took far too many pictures on our Christmas holiday….no surprise there! Enjoy some of the highlights from our ‘normal’ Christmas holiday.

 

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