Technically, this is our second Christmas in Granada. Our first one, last year, is remembered for our being awoken the day before Christmas to news of a death back in the States, and our spending the day frantically trying to find some way to get out of Spain and back home even as the country was shutting down for Navidad.
This year was more, shall we say, festive.
Christmas is BIG in Spain, with lights, pageants, music, and a menagerie of not just nativity scenes, but entire miniature landscapes of Bethlehem, with Granadan references (like lottery tickets) snuck in.
Christmas Day, however, is given over to family, food, and the gifts that don’t come in boxes, but from being with others.
We don’t have blood relatives here (not that we found yet, anyway), but it doesn’t mean we don’t have family.
So, Jiab and I threw open our tiny apartment to our fellow expats, and anyone else, who wanted to hangout in a makeshift, any way you want, Christmas day.
We had people from the US, England, Turkey, and Armenia/Lebanon/UAR/France (no one is really sure where Daniel is from, not even Daniel). I had a wonderful exchanging of greetings from my fourth floor balcony with our downstairs Spanish neighbor (it was loud, but loving). A Palestinian graduate student was coming until she at the last minute found some people more her age to hang with. It was come and go as one pleased, and everyone seemed to be.
Jiab made homemade Thai red and green curry (for the season). Our guests, in typical Spanish fashion, added whatever they wanted to bring, from Turkish kisir, to Mexican (sort of) layered dip, to Iberian ham and cheese. And always with wine, especially Cava (Spanish sparkling wine).
It was a wonderful time for all, especially as we all came to realize that, no matter where we were from, no matter our beliefs, we all shared the same vision: to each prove themselves supreme by beating the hell out of all others in board games.
And so fought over the island of Catan…
And broke up and reformed each other’s Rummy-Kube chains…
And found that we’re all kindred; it just took us a while to grow the family tree.
Except for Daniel… I’m keeping him on a branch because he beat me by one point in Catan.