Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas In Nauru

This has probably been the most meaningful Christmas I have spent in a long time, and it was mostly with people who do not even celebrate it in their religion. I had a great start to the day, but then work got intense pretty quickly, and was one of the toughest I have had. It felt so special to be part of such important work.

Without the retail mayhem of home, it was frequently difficult to remember that Christmas Day was actually looming most days - except that Nauru as an island reminded us with extravagantly decorated homes and shops all around the one road lap. The talk was that there was a prize of $10,000 for the best decorated home, and so the neon combinations, the more the better, were so impressive!

This, and seeing the way people live quite simply here, brought the festive season into such perspective.

Our nightly bus ride home from work around the island brought the Christmas cheer to us through the windows. Plus, the local versions of Christmas songs on repeat on the bus radio!

On the morning, after a bit of a Christmas Eve drinking session with new friends along the beach, we had a staff Christmas breakfast down along the beach at the hotel where we are staying. Pancakes and cheer was on the menu, and it started the day off with such joy and mutual support in this strangest of living circumstances.

I had called home the day before, on my day off, in preparation for an on-the-go day, but I did manage to get a call through to London at an appropriate time for that part of the world. Katie and I could not have spent a more polar opposite Christmas if we tried, this year!

The work day was full of smiles and "Merry Christmas" wishes from fellow colleagues, and also clients. I had a fully multicultural lunch in with the people I am working with, which felt very special to be part of.

More drinks at our hotel's bar at the end of a long day, checking in with each other, and taking care of our own well being wrapped up the day.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and found meaning in the day. I have certainly had the chance to appreciate the things that are important in life, through my work here. Love to all!

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