Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas breaking down

Today was the last day of school before Christmas break!

Usually, I love Christmas break, but this year, I’m dreading it. I almost cried when I said goodbye to the kids. I told them I’d miss them so much. What would I do without them for the next three weeks? I received many goodbye hugs and Christmas wishes, and sadly saw them off.

The kids are the best part of being here. And now I won’t see them for three weeks, during the time when I most need them. They’ll spend the next three weeks celebrating the holidays with their families, and I’ll be alone.

I was on the brink of breaking down, but I had to pull myself together for the staff Christmas party. Once I had eaten some fried rice and drank some white wine, I was able to have a good time. Moses set up some speakers and music, and to my delight, everyone was dancing. In most American parties, only the young people dance. That’s one of the greatest things about Africans... they know how to dance, they have a great time doing it, and they don’t know when to stop.

When they did stop, when the party ended and everyone loaded onto the school bus to be dropped off at their homes, something tragic happened to my composure: I lost it. As I waved “goodbye” to my co-workers, wishing them a merry Christmas and a happy new year, all I could think about was how they would be spending their Christmases with their families, and I wouldn’t.

Sister Anne noticed my watery eyes, and asked if I was crying. I shook my head. (I was lying.)

“She’s crying because her friends have all gone,” Sister Juliana said upon observing my face. “Or maybe she’s crying because she’ll miss the kids.”

I didn’t trust myself to open my mouth, because I knew my shaky voice would betray my true feelings; otherwise I would have corrected her.

Yes, I was sad that my friends were gone, and yes, I know I’ll miss the kids, but that’s not the reason I broke down and burst into tears when I returned to my room.

I was crying because I miss my family so much. I was crying because I’ll be all alone on Christmas. I was crying because this year, for the first time, I’ll only be home for Christmas in my dreams.

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