Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Very Dancehall Christmas – November and December Update

Hello All!

Well it has been a busy couple of months here Jamaica. Thanks to the end of the rainy season we have been able to get out and about much more often and have been enjoying seeing more of the island.

In mid- November we attended our Early Service Conference (ESC) in Runaway Bay, St. Ann which is on the North Coast. Although the purpose of the event was to go over more Peace Corps policies and forms for us it was more about catching up with our friends and indulging in all the hotel had to offer. We had a really busy Thanksgiving weekend. For Thanksgiving Day, we prepared a lovely meal for the two of us, using our oven for the first time for roast vegetables and apple crisp. On Friday, we went to a Staff Appreciation BBQ at the Peace Corps Office (complete with jerk turkey). The next day we traveled to Mandeville (in Manchester Parish) to visit some friends, enjoy the cooler climate there, and see Harry Potter 4. The theatre in Portmore is now closed, so we have to go elsewhere for our movie fix.

One exciting part of being with the Portmore Municipal Council is the commemorative events. For Christmas, there was a tree lighting in front of the Portmore Mall, complete with a holiday choir of public bus drivers (Feliz Navidad was their big hit) and a 30 foot tree. There was also a Christmas office party held at the fancy Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston. We dressed up in our best clothes, sent down from the States, which was appropriate because everyone else was very dressed up too, "Cinderella Ball" style. It started out tame with dinner, awards, and oldies Reggae music, but the dancing got really crazy at the end, so we chose to watch and not partake.

December has brought the end of the Hurricane season and also the Christmas Breezes which have cooled things down considerably. Although it is still too hot to sleep without the fan here in deserty Portmore. We have also enjoyed some of the Jamaican Christmas Traditions, especially Christmas Drink (made from Sorrel) and Fruit Cake. And last weekend we visited the Devon House Craft Fair in Kingston where there was lots of local fare and goods. This was a great place for us to pick out our Christmas gifts!

Right now we are busy preparing for our first guest! Shane's Mom will be getting flying into Kingston on Thursday evening to spend Christmas with us. We are planning to spend most of her visit on the beach, what better way to celebrate Christmas in Jamaica? Then we are meeting up with 2 other couples from our group and will be ringing in the New Year in a bamboo hut. We will post pictures of these two trips on our Flickr site! We are very excited about checking out some new places on the island and about getting to celebrate the holidays with family and friends!

Some other exciting news is that we are planning 2 trips home for next year one in March and one in December. As much fun as Jamaica is we are definitely elated to be coming back to visit our favorite places and favorite people!

We wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season!

Kaelyn and Shane

No comments: