This is not the first year I haven’t been home for the Christmas holidays. As a registered nurse and before that a respiratory therapist, I’ve spent most of or at least part of nearly every Christmas in a hospital of some sort. Sometimes is was a children’s hospital where we got to ‘play Santa’ for the sick kids; sometimes it was in a psychiatric hospital where someone actually thought they were Santa.
Sometimes I wasn’t home for the holidays because although I worked on the actual holiday, I spent the weeks leading up to or immediately after traveling. I’ve spent Christmas traveling in France and Germany trying to determine the best Christmas market.
I’ve spent Christmas in Bosnia and Serbia where it truly looks like a winter wonderland and bonus! these countries celebrate ‘western’ Christmas and Orthodox Christmas so if you time it right, you can have 2 solid weeks of holidays.
I’ve spent Christmas in Mexico watching the sun dip into the Pacific Ocean while laying stretched out on a beach and in Argentina watching the sun rise on the Atlantic coast. But this year it’s different.
This year I’m 8000 miles from my actual home and about 100 from my temporary home in Rwanda. It’s been 5 weeks since I’ve seen my little house on the corner and been able to pet #notmycat. It’s been longer than that since I’ve set foot in my health center. And I’m not heading home in a couple of weeks like all the other times.
These days I spend most of my time lying around the Peace Corps HQ recovering from a fall. It’s cruel punishment really, as I am mostly alone. PC staff has a ‘no fraternization’ policy with volunteers and I guess this even means a ‘hello’ on my part is greet by a curt and/or terse response and quick retreat on their part, and since my condition, at this point is chronic, I see the PCMO at most for 5 minutes. I’ve had a few visitors but life in the capital is forbidden per PC policy [and expensive!] so I keep to myself. And my books. And while I can be melancholy about my situation, it doesn’t change it so I try to be positive, and hope for the day my situation changes.