We live in a French Catholic area. I don’t mean that it is Catholic like how Minnesota is Lutheran. In Minnesota, though a lot of people are Lutheran, there are lots of other churches and religions around. Here, there is Catholic, Catholic or Catholic. Our nearest church that is not Catholic is an hour and a half walk south and is a little pocket of Churches of Christ before it becomes Catholic again. So, we had a churchy sort of Christmas.
The Christmas festivities started on Christmas eve. We had Christmas eve mass. We walked to Melsisi around 6 and had mass at 7. It ran under two hours, which made me happy. Our current priest likes to talk and often makes mass run long. There was much talk of love in the sermon but I really wasn’t paying attention. I don’t usually. The services happen in French, Bislama and Apma. I only speak one of those languages, so I can’t follow what is going on most of the time.
After mass, we jumped in Jason’s papa’s boat to go back to the village. The boat was pretty full but Jason’s papa is a very skilled driver and knows the run well. The tide was as low as I have ever seen it when we landed. We had to walk about 200 feet through ankle deep water even after Jason’s papa jumped out and towed the boat in when the motor would have been too deep for the water. The low tide exposed hundreds of little sea snails which everyone got very excited about. We stopped to gather sea snails on our way back to the village.
We went directly to Jason’s papa’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. I ran up to my house to wash off my feet (I stepped in cow poo and have a couple of cuts on my feet at the moment), and grab the pumpkin pie I had baked. I caused a stir when I came back carrying the pie. Jason’s sister kept trying to find excuses to poke at it, which I finally just gave her because she was so curious. We cut the pie and nibbled on it until the rest of the food was done. People liked it, so I consider that a success.
Dinner consisted of pumpkin pie, sea snails boiled in coconut milk (think: escargo), laplap banana (my least favorite laplap), beef soup with ramen noodles, pineapple and boiled taro. Perhaps not the Christmas goose you may have been anticipating, but well, my life is different now.
We hung out until around 1 am, which is way late for Vanuatu. We went to bed and got up too late to get the boat to Christmas mass, so we had to walk.