It’s my first Christmas away from New Zealand in almost ten years, maybe more, I can’t remember. This time of year has often been a time to recharge more than being about the “festive” season, and because my family has been scattered around the world over the years, gift giving has mostly been more about making the time to catch up or sending each other pictures of the food we had that day. You know, the simple things in life.
December has been a full on month, teaching four classes including Saturdays. I know some teachers do more, and they even study at university after their classes. It’s something I often joke about with one of the teachers, like, when does he actually sleep?
These last few days, I’ve made a concerted effort to hang out with other people. On Sunday, I had lunch with Marbel and her family, cooking pizza in an adobe clay oven. Then on Christmas Day, Martha and I had lunch together before spending the afternoon with her partner’s family. There’s a part of me that enjoys being social, but what people don’t realise is that more often than not, I’m mostly a solitary creature. I’m not socially awkward, far from it, people just wear me out sometimes.
The commercial side of Christmas never sat well with me. Over the years I’ve had a rule - if you want to gift it, don’t save it for Christmas. Just give it. I feel that rule should apply with how we treat our loved ones. Instead of trying to cram all that “goodness” in two weeks, don’t hold back, show it. Show that you love and appreciate them all year round.
I know that it’s easier said than done. We get busy, stressed and sometimes, we simply forget.
My landlady, Liliana, was worried that I would feel sad because I was away from home during a time when friends and families would usually catch up. Far from it. Here, I’ve stayed in touch with more people than I did back home, even when we lived in the same town. Those are the genuine connections I want in my life.
I’m grateful for everything this journey has brought into my life, as well as released from it, but I do think I will be gone for awhile. There’s something that brought me here and I don’t know what that is yet. Even if I never figure that out, it doesn’t really matter. I’m learning to live each day in the moment and with gratitude, wherever that takes me, I know I’m going to be alright.
Ronna Grace Funtelar is a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and slam poet currently based in Peru. She is a hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.