The Middle of the World at ChristmasPosted: December 24, 2011
Something a little different today but if you’re wondering how it relates to the blog theme of sisters and sanity, let me assure you it does. Specifically to sanity and especially to mine. I’ve categorized this under self-care which is an area where so many caregivers go wrong. They forget to do it. Or they tell themselves, they couldn’t possibly. That it would be wrong even unforgivable to, as in my case, leave their family member alone. I believe in telling myself the truth. Jerri will be okay. She is not really alone. Telecare, Bryce, Brian are there if she needs assistance. She also has Catherine and Bronwyn, friends in her building, and, of course, Kiki, the bird.
Stan and I are in Cuenca, Ecuador for Christmas. We are doing something we love: traveling and experiencing other cultures. This is one of the ways I feed my soul. Today I feel so . . . full. There is nothing that compares to spending a holiday in another country – nothing! It is particularly healthy for me. Christmas at home makes me sad. I am no longer invited to my family’s festivities and even if I was, I wouldn’t feel right about excluding Jerri which has been the norm for decades. So Christmas in the states is complicated for me. But Christmas in Cuenca is simple, exhilarating, festive, a huge celebration – exactly what Christmas should be.
Last night I could see fireworks out our hotel window. Fireworks to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Now why didn’t I think of that?!
Cuenca is known in this country for its huge Christmas parade which is called Pase Del Niño Viajero, a children’s parade honoring the traveling infant Jesus. In the early 1960’s a statue of baby Jesus was taken to Rome to be blessed by the Pope and upon its return, it was paraded through the streets. Today, there are many floats dedicated to scenes from Jesus life, also children dressed as Spaniards, wealthy colonialists, Roman soldiers, angels, gypsies (no idea), Mary and Joseph, wise men, shepherds, natives from the Amazon and Incan civilizations, and quite a few Santas. Smurfette and Papa Smurf also made an appearance. I guess there’s no telling who will show up for the children’s parade. I even saw Satan but decided not to waste any pixels on him.
Many of the floats, and I use that term loosely, feature Christmas dinner, the actual pig, chicken, or guinea pig (and I don’t mean alive) which will be eaten later. Dinner is usually quite well dressed – I saw a chicken with earrings and a ribbon around it’s neck. Keep in mind the parade lasts 6 hours. Yum!
Here are some of my favorite memories.
Look closely at the pig on the back of this young girl’s horse. That’s a Budweiser in its mouth!