I’m to the point in my blog that I no longer remember what I’ve already talked about. So forgive me if I repeat myself!
It’s that time of the year again! Which means it’s simultaneously so hot I ask myself if I’ve died and gone to hell, while also being the holiday season. If you’ve seen me in from mid-October to mid-January (really everything stops after my birthday), you know that I take this shit seriously. While in Grad school, I planned a huge, but wildly under attended Halloween party, wore a Turkey sweater (his name is Gobble Gobble or Gobs for short) every day in November, made Thanksgiving dinner for my mom and brother all in dishes shaped like pumpkins, started the Christmas/Yule music and jewelry wearing as soon as Thanksgiving was over, and broke out my Santa sweater on December 1st. Those pumpkin dishes and Turkey sweater are some of the only things I left in America to be stored (besides 6 boxes of books). Priorities, people!
So, this may come as a surprise to you, but I care a little bit about the holidays. It does shame me to say that I do let the consumerism of the holidays take over, but it brings me great joy and happiness in a time of year that could otherwise be really challenging and depressing. So I’m writing it off as a good mental health practice.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you that the holidays are not treated quite the same here. Botswana society is definitely not as consumerist and we also don’t share all the same holidays. They don’t celebrate Halloween (because, like people who have tattoos, people who celebrate Halloween must be satanists or witches). It’s a scary idea for people. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for obvious reasons and Christmas is celebrated, but it’s celebrated in churches and village gatherings, not under a tree and with presents. Although, all of these are generalizations; I’m sure there are some families who celebrate Halloween or have a Christmas tree. So their holiday season doesn’t start as early, but I was surprised to hear Christmas carols in the grocery store on November 1st.
Last year, the holidays really stressed me and made me homesick. At first, it was because they were my first major American holidays in Botswana and then it was because I was evicted and dealing with that stress while trying to celebrate Yule/Christmas. This year, it doesn’t feel as stressful, partly because they’re my last major holidays in Botswana (I should be in Australia for Halloween next year and back in WA by Thanksgiving.), but also, now that it’s been so long since I celebrated the holidays in true Joiwyn fashion, I don’t miss it as much. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I’m not going all out this Thanksgiving and Christmas, but all out is going to look a little different.
This year, I’m hosting Thanksgiving for seven of my friends. I’m making a big Thanksgiving feast and we’re going to watch the Gilmore Girls Revival (again, priorities). I’m also going to be subjected to a football game because Bethany must watch it and I’m going to try to convince my friends to make Christmas/Yule decorations with me. I won’t have Gobs with me or my pumpkin shaped dishes, but I’ll have my Peace Corps family and some amazing food and that’s what really matters. I wish I could say that I’ll be able to bring back this non-consumerist attitude when I’m back in the States, but I make no promises. I doubt I’ll be as consumerist as before, but I think I’ll just have to find a happy medium between the two. Happy Holiday Season, Everyone!