When hideousness calls, you can always count on China to infallibly answer.
Ten days to Christmas and there came the tack out, in all its kitsch grandeur, arousing my astonished head shakes, eye rollings and shamelessly vocalised ‘oh-my-gods’.
Polystyrene snow mans, flashing led lights, tinsel, out of tune Christmas carols coming out of plastic handicapped penguins, solar operated dancing Santas, molting skinny fake pine trees, the horror show of toys and children aimed crap appearing on any available shelf.
Explosion of bad taste eccentrically put in your face, the playground of cheap and nasty and the cemetery of good taste. All made in China. Of course.
I am the anti Christmas, the nazi of Christmas decoration, the kill-joy of the festive season, a self proclaimed Scrooge. Amid this visually impacting catastrophe of grace and charm, I found just one silver lining: fairy lights.
Where I live they only seem to be available during Christmas time. And since even fairy lights are also of the crappy made in China ones, which only seem to be designed to last for a month, trying to source fairy lights from January 2nd onward is as difficult as finding a unicorn with lipstick.
Beside the decorations, this Christmas has been a pretty miserable one, with Camila just coming out of her cold and fluey sickness while I was experiencing it in full glory. Body aches, blocked nose and ears, cough, sore throat, fatigue… I felt like I was trapped in a bubble, and though this made me miss all the Christmas shenanigans pervading all surroundings, I have also missed on hearing, tasting and smelling, which was pretty brutal and depressing.
New Year’s eve approached with us all feeling remarkably better and so we ventured out in the wet Vilcabamba evening, trying to re-live at least a glimpse of our very first New Year’s celebration we experienced in this quirky town, the best NY celebrations both Fintan and I remember experiencing.
It was a simple get together of all people, foreigners and locals who live in Vilcabamba, all glittering with festive happiness, occupying the streets, merry with alcohol and the anticipation to the midnight, when Ecuadorian tradition will have burning effigies (año viejos:puppets made to represent the past year) for good luck in the new year.
A salsa band was playing this year in front of the church, tingling with joy and butt shakes. We roamed like lost souls, greeted and wished Happy New Year to everyone. Even the most miserable folks seemed to be friendly and in a good mood on this special night.
Unlike our first year when we did the same with our group of friends, this time it was just our minimal family unit. We paid a visit to Camila’s adopted Ecuadorian grandparents, who welcomed us to their homes with pomarosa infused punta (a liquor made out of sugar cane). We stayed with them until midnight which abruptly exploded with unsafe fireworks and multiple bonfires. The biggest of them had the neighbourhood’s massive paper-mache año viejo-Hulk burnt along with every family’s año viejos.
We were forced to dance. Don Lucho and his wife danced too. It was a special moment. She has had multiple leg operations in the past few years and now resigned to the illness that afflicts them supporting the pain with her brave yet resigned stance. One of their daughters told me how much they loved to dance and how they would leave their children home when very little to go dancing to the local ballroom. And this was their first time in four years that they had a little dance. They were so cute! Camila fell asleep way before midnight, and missed them.
So here we are in 2017 now.
Hello January! The big wise brother of all months, the detoxing inspiring month. The month of big expectations with its reflections and soul searching, plans itineraries, resolution promises. Then before you realise is September and whilst eating a pan au chocolate you discover that most the year has gone and you have done nothing that you so intensely put your mind to back in January and the next January is around the corner with its renewed inspiring aura and you mumble Shit!Shit!Shit! to yourself.
But this year I am prepared. I set myself to conquer every single day in its fullness, learn something new, be grateful, be happy, be healthy, be open minded, be my best.