Koraput Kristmas

Corey writes:

It's been a little while since our last post, but just like in the U.S., our week last week revolved around the planning, preparation, and celebration of the annual visit by Saint Nick. After polling our new work friends and our new VSO friends here, Gina and I decided to be brave and host a partay at our place. The benefit of this is that it would force us to clean thoroughly, which is really the only reason to ever invite people to your home. As is typical here in India, our guests weren't able to finalize their Christmas plans until the 22nd, but fortunately all five people could come.

Our Christmas Eve Day was spent shopping for the party: Gina's Christmas wish was for an electric oven, which we found in a utensil store here. We did't expect to have an oven for two years, so this was a great surprise! My Christmas wish was for meat, specifically chicken. We also picked up some sweet Christmas decorations in town: santa hats, red and green flower strands, and lots of candles. Even though few people celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas here, everyone seemed infected with the Christmas spirit. We got more "Hellohowareyouwhereareyoufrom!"s than normal.

We hurried home with our X-mas booty and got a few more surprises:

  • A very warm and manly shawl from our new friend Siba. (Modeling pics forthcoming)
  • A set of glass cups, bowls, and serving bowl from our new friends Jina and Sadapdi.
  • A bottle of Royal Challenge scotch from our landlord (stamped "For defense personnel only" on the back). I get the impression that our landlord isn't a drinker, since the scotch smelled and tasted like it had been kept in moth balls for 4 years.

We spent Christmas day doing the dreaded cleaning, and also cooking. Our contributions to the party were sugar cookies and fried chicken. Gina slaved away in front of the oversized EZ Bake for a couple hours just to crank out about two dozen cookies. I got the inspiration to coat my chicken in crushed cornflakes before I fried it. Both dishes turned out excellently!

Our guests started showing up at 6:00, they included our fellow VSO vol Hilary, her husband and son, and our fellow VSO vols Margaret and Jan. They all brought some contributions including amazing green beans, an Indian sweet sampler, mashed sweet potatoes, and of course, booze. We had a blast!

Throughout the Christmas holiday, both Gina and I were missing our families more than normal, but our adopted family here in K-put made us feel very welcome! Now, bring on the New Year!