Last year I spent the Christmas holidays traveling. And, as exciting as it was, I missed home and the traditions of home a lot. This year, I decided to stay in Moldova and celebrate the holidays in my (now) home.
This, of course, meant I had to start with my family’s first tradition: decorating. I went out and bought a little garland, a modest tree, and some Christmas lights, and then I had to get creative. I tied up some gold ribbon, wrapped some pine cones in red and green bows, stuck some festive candles in used wine bottles, and covered a few jars with salt for a “snowy” look. Altogether, it made for a pretty festive room.
I ended up hosting about 12 volunteers for Christmas dinner, and with the help of our stellar Chef Christopher, we prepared quite the meal. Roasted duck, garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus and shrimp (two very expensive commodities in Moldova), cabbage salad (thanks mom for this recipe!), a fantastic cheese platter, and Christmas cookies and fudge for dessert. It was DELICIOUS. Conveniently, we were visited that night by two groups of carolers – some middle school age boys who were going around knocking on doors. We treated them to some cookies and a bit of money and thanked them for their visit.
I had a full house of guests for a few nights, and we watched all the classic Christmas movies (White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Die Hard…yes, you read that right). We also went to a midday mass on Christmas and spent some time grabbing coffee at a nice shop down the road. Then, on Christmas night, we sat down together and read the Christmas story from the Bible. It was great.
I also got to Skype with my family. They opened the package I sent back home with gifts from my travels and from Moldova, and they had a few gifts for me that are waiting at home. It was a great way to spend the holiday.
Merry Christmas from Moldova!