Plotting out our work schedule when we first got this new contract started, our team had dismayed at the prospect of being on island for the Christmas and NYE double within a rotation. Being away from home across the holiday period is always a bit strange, and tough on family. But I had done it last year and knew what we were in for, and with some forewarning, my family had our family gathering a weekend early at home.
The thing is, Nauru LOVES Christmas. They go all out! Decorations galore - and the lit up houses and businesses are worth accidentally doing a lap on the bus around the island. So pretty!
On Christmas morning, our team gathered early together for a breakfast in the Mess, and Secret Santa exchanges, before heading to work.
I managed to score a role to accompany clients to church for the morning, which was a pretty special experience. I definitely have never attended church on Christmas Day before, and as an an atheist, totally went for the amazing singing.
But it was so meaningful to see people so very into the spirit of Christmas, and finding such solace from their faith. I am, as always, in awe of the hope, courage, and support faith brings people.
This church pictured was not that one I went to, but one of the one's on the excursion on the day.
In the end, a couple of us headed down to the beautifully lit O-Dn Hotel. We had a couple of beers here, before getting some takeaways and heading down to the beach in front of the hotel.
Our little gathering sat at the waters edge in a haphazard circle in the sand, with the moon shining above us, lighting the shore, the pier and the cantilevers nearby. The moon had a spooky and magical ring around it, which seemed to make the night even more special.
We saw in the countdown at midnight, and then delighted in the local fireworks coming from the main road.
So many of my key, meaningful experiences over this rotation I cannot share, for several reasons. Needless to say, it was a Christmas build up and New Year Eve countdown to remember, with some really amazing people. Some very special memories that will have to remain my very own.
Our theme for the New Year's wishes seemed to naturally be "New Year, new start!" Such hope for this year, 2015, for change and humanity. May it be a happy one ahead, for all!