'Tis the season of merriment and joy, giving and receiving, love and laughter, and the all-important holiday food! Pull your stretchy pants out of the dresser. You'll be needing them soon.
I heard someone say recently that you know Halloween is near when you start to see Christmas decorations. This is entirely the case in Belfast. I started to see Christmas decorations in windows just after Halloween. More and more have been put up since then, but because they do not celebrate Thanksgiving here, it has pretty much been the Christmas season since the beginning of November. At Quaker Cottage, our Christmas excitement just started this past week. We've been putting up paper chains, wearing Santa hats, and singing Christmas songs all week. The afterschoolers all built gingerbread houses and decorated Christmas cookies during the week. Some of the gingerbread houses were fantastic. One girl even added a mailbox. Others (like mine) crumbled in. But you know what? I think it's easier to eat a destroyed gingerbread house than a pristine one. Nobody wants to wreck something that took so long and looks so nice! That's my opinion, but not necessarily the same one as the little brothers and sisters who saw loads of candy stuck to houses when they were brought home.
The Christmas festivities continue next week with trips to the Christmas Market in Belfast City Center each day. I'm not going to lie. Taking these kids to the city and walking around in crowds with them makes me a bit nervous. Who knows when one will decide to take off running. We'll see how that turns out. And then the following week is packed with parties. Six Christmas parties to be exact, and I'm thinking that I'll have to play Santa for at least two of them. The last time I remember being Santa was in an elementary school play or music concert of some sort. For whatever reason, I remember having a solo for one of the songs and then I danced in front of the entire crowd. But of course, the hyper little child that I was thought that a good alternative to dancing was laying on my side and spinning in circles on the floor. I don't know. Maybe that was dream...
What else has happened since my last post?
- It was super windy one day. Like blowing down power lines windy. Like make a lake look like the ocean windy. We were out on a bus run, and as I step out of the bus to head to one family's door, something big smacks into my back. As I shout out, I see a large bin lid flying away. The wind had actually lifted up a bin lid and chucked it at me. The people watching from the bus got a good laugh from that.
- I received my first ever mistletoe kiss this week. My supervisor had put some up in the playroom, and without thinking, I stood underneath it. As soon as one of the mums walked near me, she pointed it out and quick as lightning that mum planted a kiss right on my cheek. There was no avoiding it.
- On Friday, one of the children was having an extremely bad day. Steffi, Becky, and I each walked out of work that day with tales of his attacks. Becky nearly had her earrings ripped out and nose pulled off. I received a strong slap to the face, but Steffi won the day with the teeth marks from a bite that are still visible two days later.
- Progress on the 8000 piece puzzle has slowed to a crawl. We have finished all of the areas that are easy to do, but that was only about 1/4 of the entire puzzle, if that. The goal to finish it by Christmas will not be happening.
There is a commercial playing here that we at work have decided shows an accurate depiction of one of our kids. Right around the 20 second mark, a boy starts dancing and repeating the words "I fell asleep, and now it's Christmas day." It's that type of silliness and excitement that we get to see every week.