Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Carols in the Compound

When living abroad, the holidays make for some awkward occasions. We look for people who celebrate like us and activities that remind us of our home cultures. I'm sure other expatriates have similar desires. Our Thanksgiving celebration last month struck me in a peculiar manner this year when I was looking around and observing that most of our guests were not American; however, it didn't feel tainted. We had turkey! It is just not easy to recreate the traditions that we grew up with in our home countries, but we try. I suppose we're making new traditions, as well.

A few years ago, when we were first cutting our teeth in Doha, a German family that had befriended us and was leaving unexpectedly gave us their Christmas tree. We hadn't planned on purchasing one, especially as we were leaving almost two weeks before the holiday, but Vito and I were excited about it. Angela less so. She viewed it as another mess in the making. Bah, humbug! Still, after putting together the tree, stringing colored lights on the branches and adorning it with ornaments, it brightened up the apartment considerably and brought a little festive cheer into what was then an otherwise drab abode.

Now, approaching our third Christmas in the Q, decorating the tree has become a ritual to instill a bit of Christmas spirit. I like to immerse myself in it, too, by playing Christmas music in both the car and apartment. My mom always used to play Christmas music, and I suppose that I have adopted that tradition. Vito enjoys the Christmas music, also, perhaps, taking after his father, and, this year, he is particulary fond of "Jingle Bells" by Fats Domino.

I don't think Mr. Domino would be too pleased about the representation in the video, but that is a topic for another discussion...

But getting back to carols, singing echoed in the stairwell of our building tonight. While we were getting ready for bed, Vito asked me about the music that we could hear from his bedroom. One of our neighbors is a pianist, and he had, apparently, invited his friends over for a round of carolling. I was happy to explain to Vito that people in America would sometimes get together during the holidays, and sing Christmas carols to their neighbors. That may never happen here, but it was a nice surprise and it reminded me of home.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Fats Domino, my favorite singer when I was 13 /14.
"I left my thrill on Blue Berry Hill" was one of my favorite songs by "Fats".