1-1 Party like a ni-Van

I wanted a Christmas Tree, so I made one.

Christmas night is one of the handful of days it is acceptable, in fact expected, for the men to drink alcohol. People drinking alcohol around here tends to end in ugliness. The first round of drinks came out by 6 pm.

I was hanging out with the women. Women don’t drink. I brought the embroidery thread my mother had sent me and started teaching people how to make friendship bracelets. The women and older girls caught on pretty fast. The boys and younger girls ranged between “takes time to learn” and “hopeless.” Jason was good enough to work on a bracelet, too. That made it ok for the boys to join in, which made it more fun for me. I think by the time I went back to my house, I’d made 8 friendship bracelets. There were a few I had to take apart and restart for some of the younger kids. I couldn’t keep a close eye on all five of them at once so a few of them would mess them up every few minutes.
I’m so glad I’m not a teacher. That was way too many things going on at once.
We got around to eating again around 6:30. More laplap taro, laplap banana, rice, beef soup, ramen noodles, pineapple and a lemon tart I made. I was so full I couldn’t move by the end of it and people kept telling me I hadn’t eaten enough. I explained my stomach was still full from lunch and they didn’t believe me.
After dinner, one of Jason’s brothers hauled his TV down to the house to watch videos. They hooked the TV up with the giant speakers and the DVD player. The cords were all a little sketchy and the audio or the video kept cutting in and out, but all in all, we watched about 30 string band videos.
Though I don’t object to string band, I do object to having my eardrums blasted. The speakers were up at full volume. They were loud enough that sitting next to another woman we had to shout to be heard. I don’t understand what the point of turning the speakers up that loud is. I could hear kick back from the speakers, which can’t be good for them, and I couldn’t have a conversation with anyone. I was busy making friendship bracelets for small children, so I didn’t mind too much at first.
Friendship bracelets with Jason’s family
Clockwise from me, auntie from the south, sister Colette,
Cousin Charlotte, Mama

It was good to hang out with Jason’s family. They are a lot more welcoming than mine and have a few teenagers who are fun to talk to. Jason’s papa is a riot and kept getting me to take pictures of him and Jason having male bonding time. Male bonding time seems to involve chicken wings and booze the world over. Go figure.

By midnight, I was tired. I tried to take a nap despite the incredibly loud music and bright lights. Jason’s sister hit me in the face with a ball. I decided I was done trying to be social. I took my leave and went back to my house. There was still music playing at the house I’d left as well as two other houses in the village and the youngfala were running drunkenly screaming through the village. It wasn’t conducive to sleeping.
Instead, I sat and played my guitar and caught up on my journal and other writings. It was a pleasant two hours until things started to settle down. I went out to take a quick shower and of course timed my mostly-naked run to my bathroom to coincide with one more trip through the village by the youngfala. I had to hope really hard that none of them wanted to chat at that point, luckily they didn’t and I got to bathe in peace. (I wear a sarong out to my bathroom when I shower. It is highly immodest by the standards here, though all the women do it because no one wants to wear more clothees than that to bathe.)

I went to bed around 3 am. At 4:30, Jason came back and woke me up. We chatted until he passed out in the middle of my sentence. At 6, I gave up on sleeping anymore and got up. We had to get moving to get to Melsisi and catch the ship to Santo.

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