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Silent Night

December 24, 2010

Silent Night, holy Night;
All is calm, not very bright.
Raindrops are falling from Heaven above;
My family’s at church, singing alleluia.
Christmas in Malawi has come,
Christmas in Malawi has come.

I’ve had a lot of silent nights in the last month and a bit. That’s part of the beauty of living in a village, outside of town, with no electricity; it can provide perfect opportunities to think, reflect, and try to make sense of things. This evening however, the content of those thoughts is slightly different.

I’m thinking about the joy and happiness that I saw in the kids as we danced around the house tonight to music in our heads and took silly photos of each other. It’s similar to the joy that lit up their faces, when they got a glimpse of the cheezies in the extra bag I brought home from work today. The same joy and happiness I’ve seen many times since arriving; often brought on by the simplest of actions.

I’m thinking about the calm and peaceful feeling, this Christmas seems to have. The fact that I was able to do all of my Christmas shopping and eat lunch in under 2 hours this afternoon, and although the line was unusually long, it just made it feel a bit more like a Canadian Christmas. The realization that Christmas just sort of appeared out of the blue without much fanfare or much anticipation. Never, in the lead up to tonight, did I feel like I really had to be somewhere, buy something, or do anything in particular in order to prepare for the day. It’s just sort of appeared, a welcomed special day, as Christmas eve winds down, the big event is still to come.

I’m thinking about the hopes I have for this place, and the people in it. I have a hope that all my new friends and family will stay happy and healthy this year and that they may find the opportunities they desire to follow their dreams. I believe that there is change to be made in order for these opportunities to happen, and have faith in the abilities of those working for it, to bring that change about.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I’m thinking about the love I’ve been shown by all my friends and family around the globe. The emails, calls, texts, letters and posts that always seem to come at just the right time, and can make me smile no matter what else happens to be going on at that moment.

I was expecting Christmas in Malawi to be pretty tough, I’m far away from friends and family, and traditions that always mean a lot to me. It turns out that, I’m doing alright. Christmas seems to be just different enough that I can’t really compare it to Christmas at home, but yet just enough the same that it still makes me happy. So, while I’m thinking about all these things, I just wanted to send a quick message out there, to say I hope you’re also doing alright. And I wanted to wish all of you, the same joy, hope, peace and love that I’ve felt this Christmas time.

Merry Christmas,
Al

ps on my way back from christmas vacation, I managed to catch a good enough internet connection to get some pics posted.  You can see them here.  Enjoy!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 24, 2010 10:39 pm

    Merry merry Christmas and happy new year to you Alyssa! It’s so nice to hear about your Christmas and that you are also enjoying the festivities over there as we are over here (in a different way but festive nonetheless!)

    All the best to you and your family, both in Malawi and elsewhere 🙂

    Thinking of you,
    Nadia

  2. Anne Tipler permalink
    December 24, 2010 10:55 pm

    Merry Christmas Alyssa!! Thinking of you and it was wonderful to read this Christmas Eve post. I’ve never been away from home for Christmas so I can hardly imagine it. But it’s just one part of this adventure you are on. Have a blessed and wonderful day tomorrow and always.

  3. December 25, 2010 2:10 am

    Merry Christmas Alyssa!

  4. Elizabeth permalink
    December 25, 2010 3:18 am

    Merry Christmas!! I consider you lucky to get to enjoy it in Malawi. It was tough to leave Ghana right before Christmas when so many people were begging me to stay and experience it with them. But at the same time, I was so looking forward to going home.

    Again, Merry Christmas, and here’s to an amazing 2011 for you!

  5. Elizabeth permalink
    December 25, 2010 3:19 am

    And I just noticed your tweet from last week – you told a WHOLE story in Chitumbuka? Holy amazing girl!!!!!!!!

  6. Dara Zarowny permalink
    December 25, 2010 3:53 am

    Merry Christmas Alyssa!!! We are so proud of you and so envious at the samet time of what you get to do 🙂 Even though it has been years since we have been with you face to face your in our hearts always. I pray that your time in Malawi continues to be blessed with new and promising experiences.

    I love reading your blog so keep writing. I see a book at the end of this part of your journey ;}

    With much love and Christmas wishes for you today, tomorrow and all through the coming year….

    Dara & Frank xoxoxoxoxo

  7. Gloria Crouse permalink
    December 25, 2010 4:43 am

    Merry Christmas from Michigan! Love from your Aunt Gloria.

  8. Kelly Braiden permalink
    December 25, 2010 9:27 pm

    Merry Christmas Alyssa my best friend:) Glad you had a nice Christmas with your new family and friends. We are missing you so much over here! Have a blessed Christmas and an awesome new years!!!!

    Love you lots and lots

    Kelly and Andrew

  9. Janice Woronchak permalink
    December 26, 2010 8:12 pm

    We all (Mom, Dad, Aunt Vera, Janice, Todd, Katie, Lori, Nick, Nicholas, Brittney and Melissa) missed you on Christmas Eve, but you were in our hearts as we read your blog out loud to everyone. Thinking of you always in our hearts.

    Wishing you a happy New Year.

  10. Karen Forgrave permalink
    December 26, 2010 9:29 pm

    Merry Christmas! Experiencing the joy of children is an important part of Christmas – wherever you may be! The “sunshine” that lights up their faces and makes everyone around feel like smiling is a special gift, to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere!

  11. Hannah permalink
    December 31, 2010 1:48 am

    Hi Alyssa!

    Merry belated Christmas! I have really enjoyed hearing about how you are celebrating Christmas in Malawi!! At this point Happy New Year as well! Wishing you all the best in 2011 and as you continue to do great things in Malawi may God continue to bless your life there!

    Love Hannah

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