This blogpost was written by one of our German volunteers.
Christmas was last week and I would like to tell you about it. My Christmas experience this year was definitely very different to those I had in my life so far and it will be one I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.
In my small family (consisting of my parents, my brother, our pets and myself) back home in Germany, we celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December. We have a very slow start to the day, usually accompanied by a late breakfast. Each family member spends the day cleaning, wrapping up the last gifts or just winding down. Nothing special happens during the day. My mother, whom is a great cook, prepares our Christmas dinner which usually consists of dumplings, red cabbage and roasted duck (my favourite). My father sets up the tree and I decorate it. By 07:00 PM we have dinner and afterwards one family member will have prepared a Christmas story. When I was little I used to dislike this part of the day because whilst we were listening, my brother and I could already see the presents under the Christmas tree. However once I have gotten older, I was able to appreciate it more and more and nowadays I am always looking forwards to it. After the story has been told, we exchange our presents. We usually sit by the tree and take our time, opening one gift at a time and taking turns. This can take some time and after we have finished, we will sit around the tree and talk until the night ends.
For Christmas this year, the other volunteers and myself have kindly been invited to stay at the home of Nisha and her parents in Kanyakumari. On the 24th of December we woke up at 04:30 AM to drive to the tip of India to catch the sunrise. We visited Vivekanda Rock Memorial and Padmanabhapuram Palace. After lunch we also went to the Mathoor hanging bridge - the longest and tallest trough bridge in Asia. That was impressive to say the least. We ended the day with delicious Dosai (one of my favourite South Indian dishes) for dinner and then I called my parents. There is a -4.5 hour time difference to Germany, therefor my parents had not yet started their celebrations. Although it was definitely different to experience Christmas apart from my family, it was nice to have the opportunity to talk to them over the phone.
The other volunteers and myself are all very thankful for the experience of Christmas as well as the hospitality of Nisha and her parents. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2023!