this is my first christmas away from my family, which might seem rough if my family didn’t continually ditch me for other holidays such as thanksgiving (okay, it didn’t happen continually, only twice). i’ve been coerced into missing my family since i started feeling a little out of place when the other volunteers mention how much they miss theirs (“oh, yah, me too. i miss my family so much!”). i’ve decided that perhaps i will reply with the following retort the next time somebody mentions missing their grandmother during the upcoming holiday season: “i miss my grandmother everyday, and if you really loved yours, you would too.”
christmas (like every other holiday) has never been that big of a deal to me. i like seeing my family, especially if it means ditching wisconsin to visit some of the more intelligent members of my extended family who live in warmer places (score for a snow-free christmas in uganda. while the song “there won’t be snow in africa this year” is a piece of crap and untrue, fortunately the snow-free part is applicable here in uganda). i also enjoy the holiday movies (well, “we’re no angels”- the 1955 film with humphrey bogart, not the piece-of-crap 1989 mess with sean penn & robert deniro- is easily the best, and most underrated christmas classic of all time. it’s followed closely by “die hard” and “gremlins”. i also have an affinity for “mean girls,” and while it isn’t technically a christmas movie, it does feature a great rendition of “jingle bell rock”- remember when lindsay lohan wasn’t a nasty whore? me neither. “it’s a wonderful life” had potential to be great, if only george bailey had really drowned). christmas music, on the other hand, is something about this season that i completely loathe. whether its the incessantly overplayed mariah carey disaster “all i want for christmas is you” (which up until today i thought was the worst christmas song of all time- only to be proven wrong when i heard the justin bieber/mariah carey remake) or the trying way-too-hard-pull-at-your-heartstrings “christmas shoes” (seriously, kid, i hope your mom dies before you get home to give her those shoes so she doesn’t have to hear about you conned a ball-less man to get them for her by being a whiny little bitch).
i haven’t really been in christmas-mode (which for me is something more like hating-on-christmas-mode) lately. i think it’s because i’ve always associated the lead-up to christmas with snow, cheesy “happy holiday” greetings from the local news anchors, and when the radio starts to play awful music (well, more awful than usual). today was the first time that i heard christmas music. it was classy, an energetic gospel choir version of “angels we have heard on high.” the christmas music invasion continued later in the day and took a turn for the worse, as the music video for afore-mentioned justin bieber-mariah carey atrocity was featured on ntv, uganda’s #1 network. following the music video, the “ntv news at 9” anchor wished me and my family a safe and happy holiday. while i don’t think the snow part will ever happen here, 2 of 3 indicators for christmas have occurred, indicating that it is legitimately on its way.
another part of christmas that kind of annoys me is the gift-giving part. i love receiving gifts, but hate having to spend my time and money trying to find the “perfect” gift for others (especially since i’m only getting them gifts because society tells me that’s what i’m supposed to do). while there won’t be snow in my town, christmas will be a little more white than usual. this year peace corps uganda is giving me the ultimate gift: a returned peace corps volunteer named nicholas (i am assuming he’s white, because, well, peace corps is at least 95% white). he will be living in my town and working at my organization for a year.
i don’t really know a lot about nicholas other than his name, and that he will be arriving december 19th to bushenyi. i’ve thought a lot about him lately, mainly because i’ve been sick and haven’t really had anything to think about (aside from the ridiculous peace corps rumor mill, which makes middle school girls look tame and sophisticated). i have been desperately scouring the web for signs of him. this would be a lot easier if i had a last name. i have searched the following terms in different combinations on google: “johns hopkins” “stomp out malaria” “bushenyi, uganda”, “peace corps response”, “nick”, “nicholas”, “nicky”, etc. (my browser history is pretty creepy). unfortunately i have been unable to locate a myspace, facebook, or linkedin profile that might give me more details.
since i haven’t been able to secure actual information via the inter-web, i’ve been relegated to imagining what he will be like. i’ve been doing most of the imagining with asami gwen cormier (aka my best friend- we have not one, not two, but three, matching LOST t-shirts. yah, we’re a pretty cool) via facebook. with her help, i’ve come up with the following profile of nicholas, or at least the ideal version of him (taken from an actual facebook messaging session. which took place on pearl harbor day. i still regret not making fun of asami’s japanese half in honor of the holiday. it would have been a more than appropriate way to commemorate the day that caused the world to suffer through michael bay’s pearl harbor):
andrew orland rowan: so i found out that the volunteer who is coming to work at my org is named nicholas. i really hope he goes by nicholas. nick is just dumb. i plan on calling him nicholas no matter what his preference is.
asami gwen cormier: are you already creating an assumed personality based on his name alone? i agree, nicholas is much better. he sounds polite. i think i like him.
andrew orland rowan: i imagine that he is super-cool (super-cool is my book, not society’s). he is good-looking (i am only friends with good-looking people), but not as good-looking as me, since i need to remain the most attractive white male in the area.
we are going to be best friends. or the worst of enemies. no room for anything in between.
asami gwen cormier: well, surely there is no room for reality to be a disappointment there.
andrew rowan rowan: also, i just assume he’s white. he could be something else, but the peace corps is mainly made up rich white kids and a few token asians/indians who weren’t smart enough to go to med school like their parents wanted them to.
asami gwen cormier: nice. 🙂
if you eventually read this, i hope you realize i’m not actually as creepy as this might make me seem.
andrew orland rowan