Christmas for the stereotypical American child means waking up early in the morning and running to wherever the Christmas tree is in the house to see all of the wrapped presents under it that Santa brought… then one-by-one opening them to see what’s inside. Some children go crazy and tear the paper all over the place, while others are more careful… hoping to preserve the paper for another present. But the excitement of unwrapping presents doesn’t go away even when you’re in your 20’s or 90’s (or even 100’s, I assume). Even if you’re Ross and you know most of your gifts because your Mom is too excited about them so she tells you ahead of time what they are, it’s still fun to unwrap them. Basically, I can’t imagine Christmas without wrapped presents.
Christmas in Moldova has changed that around a bit.
My dad sent over presents for my host mom and dad in Varatic. My host dad participates in a religion that doesn’t believe in celebrating anything- not Christmas, not Easter, not birthdays… but, regardless, he was receiving a gift. When I first walked into the house to give them their gifts my host dad wasn’t there, so I just gave it to my host mom. My dad had translated a message into Romanian and written it on a little card. My host mom read it, then put it aside and said, “thanks! That was nice of him.” Then I had to tell her to open it. She didn’t know how. So I had to show her. He had purchased a beautiful turquoise necklace- she put it on immediately. Then my host dad came in and I gave him his present. He did the same thing as my host mom- read the card, said thanks, then put it aside. Then she told him to open it. He couldn’t quite get the hang of it so he asked me to help with half of it, which of course I wasn’t going to say no to more present opening! He had received a beautiful sweater, which he immediately put up to his chest, just as I would have imagined my dad would have done. But then he asked how much it cost, which I’m assuming was because he wanted to pay my dad for it. I said I didn’t know, and it was a gift for him. He didn’t ask any questions after that.
Then Ross and I were discussing it later and he said that he thought maybe presents here aren’t wrapped because when he was looking for some paper to wrap my Christmas present (see card below!), he couldn’t find any.
… maybe wrapping presents isn’t international after all.
Tomorrow we head to Italy to begin our 10 day vacation… we’ll be on a cruise where we may or may not have internet, so I may or may not be able to update! So, just in case, have a happy new year!!! And don’t feel the need to make resolutions… you can do that every day of the year. 🙂