It’s Not Christmas
By Kelly McKinnon, KF9, León, Nicaragua
It’s not Christmas.
90 degree days and the glow of the Nicaraguan sunlight and my celebration of Thanksgiving in the reception of a medical clinic where I was diagnosed with a stomach bacteria, (Oh the irony!) somehow make the holiday season seem far away.
And yet, I didn’t think it was Friday either. After checking my calendar, twice, I now recognize that my coworkers are not trying to trick me. And neither is the rest of Nicaragua.
Signs of the (rapidly) approaching holiday have been springing up around León and surprising me left and right.
On Thanksgiving, stomach bacteria having been dealt with, I stood in the refrigerated section of the supermercado. I was trying to decipher the difference between bags of milk.
Just behind me was a shrub that smelled suspiciously like a Christmas tree. Again, I was confused, but to reinforce the presence of the odorous shrub, on came the Christmas music.
A woman reached for one particular bag of milk, she seemed confident in her selection. I went for the same.
A few days earlier, I was teetering around on my Nicaraguan sidewalks, on my way home from picking up tacos for dinner, I found myself stepping around three women. Señoras! peering into an open door like giddy young girls.
Etiquette here dictates that, though doors and windows are always open, one passes by without intruding on the lives within. Maybe it is dictated by disinterest, but I, I am interested. I habitually peer vulgarly into the homes and stores and surprises that fill the voids on the other side of the high walls that line the sidewalks.
So, with these three Ladies peering into this home, I took a liberal gander as well. The object of their oooh-ing and ahh-ing was a Christmas tree, a perfect one, wrapped in a wide garland of dark purple satin.
The three Ladies pointed and chatted excitedly. I was just confused, because, as I said before, It’s not Christmas.
Kelly is the grinch of Kiva Fellows working in León, Nicaragua, where she is actually really happy to be learning about holiday traditions.