You know you are having Christmas in Ukarumpa when….(Mandy’s version)

by mendibpng

kids crop

  • Instead of shoveling snow and de-icing the sidewalk, we make sure the gutters on our roof are clear so that the house doesn’t flood during rainy season.
  • Our weekly ‘night out’ as a couple included an annual White Elephant gift exchange, in which Ben came home with the same gift he took.
  • We filter our water and bleach our fruits and veggies so that we don’t get a tummy bug over the holidays.
  • The kids helped set up all our Christmas decorations that we have collected here for the last 12 years. Some things we shipped over, some we made and some we found in country, even!
  • We stockpile our fridge, freezer and pantry because the store is closing for 2.5 weeks. In reality, we probably have enough food to last for 2 months without going to the store!
  • We get excited when someone has a new movie or TV show to share around since entertainment is sometimes hard to come by.
  • We longingly look at the $100 turkeys they got in this year at the store and decide to go with 2 $15 chickens instead.
  • I prepare a special gift of food or money to give our friends who help with our house and yard work.
  • We tell the kids that we won’t take a holiday away from home this year because we are buying a new washing machine instead, and they all shout for joy because they don’t like to leave their friends!
  • All family members breathe a huge sigh of relief once the school holidays begin. It means the kids are free to hang out with their friends, while I am grateful for the more relaxed pace of life: no homework, music practice or tests to study for!
  • My friends and I always discuss the question, “do you think it’s going to rain today?” (because we don’t want our clothes to get an extra rinse out on the laundry line!) On our porch we have Christmas lights, garlands AND clothes drying.
  • We’ve ordered a small present for each of our children 4-6 months in advance so that they will have something to open on Christmas morning along with some goodies sent in a care package for their stockings.
  • I look at my stockpile of wrapping paper that I shipped from the U.S. three years ago and wonder if it’s enough to cover all the presents on our final year in PNG before furlough.
  • We plan each year to make Christmas gifts for our friends. This year we made pumpkin butter!
  • We incorporate traditions from home and new(er) ones from here during the Christmas season. We usually stay in our pajamas all day long on Christmas day, and have sweet rolls, breakfast casserole and hot cocoa for our breakfast.
  • We relish every small (and big) thing that comes in a care package from ‘home’ while the little ones are certain that America is the place where all the goodies come from.
  • We enjoy seeing our children in their Christmas programs and wish their grandparents could see them, too.
  • Homesickness is so natural, it’s like breathing; but traditions like the Jesse Tree (Advent) each night is meaningful, as we reflect on Christ’s first and second coming.



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