Friday, January 1, 2010

Merry Christmas and elephants.

For unto us a son is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Prince of Peace.

Christmas at the Rubesh household is one of those affairs that involves every essential seasonal element imaginable from candles to bibles to Santas to stockings to church to carols to gifts and spans a solid two days. This year, we included elephants.

Christmas Eve dawned bright and sunny and we thought we must take advantage of the wonderful weather and do something with our morning. And indeed we did, by hopping a middle-aged elephant and taking a stroll down the riverbank. We couldn’t ride anything but a clean elephant, of course, and so were handed scraps of coconut husk and very hospitably ushered into the river. We were led to a large lump, which resembled a large black rock with a little scuba tube sticking out a distance away, and were ordered to vigorously take our coconut husks to its leathery expanse. When there is an ear bigger than your bodily person flapping at you, one is inclined not to rouse the owner of this ear. Vigorously taking coconut husks to its belly somehow did not seem in keeping with this train of thought. We therefore resorted to sort of patting at it, in a feeble manner. The “Mahout” or the elephant keeper, observing our failure, kind of rolled his eyes, yelped something in a language neither Steph nor I could decipher and took the coconut husks from our flailing hands. With as much vigor as one could hope for he rubbed that elephant down within an inch of its life and the elephant seemed quite at ease with the whole process. It probably didn’t even register we were there (not even when we were instructed to sit on it for the camera) until it rose from the water like Posidon himself. Needless to say, this was all very exciting and it was a grand way to begin our Yuletide festivities.

Nicky got a little bored after a spell.

Nightfall brought on one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Presents are brought down from various rooms (wrapping these presents is another one of my favorite things. It takes me hours.), puzzles are worked on, “Candlelight – the Christmas series” is put into the CD player, a good German dinner is laid out, the Christmas story is read, and carols are sung. This year, we were each chose a character and were to come up with one new aspect of each character that we had never thought of before. Answers were interesting and participation was abundant…even Nicky restrained from picking “the sheep”.

The annual giggles set in during the prayer (why is it that that happens? every. single. year.) and my dad knew it was time to call it quits – let the unpacking frenzy begin! The wrapping paper rained and hauls were bountiful, but the highlights had to be:

  • Nicky’s 50 pound amp for his guitar (he was given roughly half an hour in the house before mom banished him to the annex to play his heart out).

Kindly note the professional wrapping job.

  • Kristians pack of cigarettes (Note: A. Kristian does not smoke. B. this is slowly becoming tradition, and an annual family christmas smoke is not frowned upon).

Reading the christmas story.

  • and from Nicky to Steph Anderson? A brand new, shiney, glass-topped, non stick Chinese Wok.

“She likes to cook, right?”

Obviously, the wok was thought through.

We are a good German family. Nuff said.

Christmas morning began with church which is, to me, a wonderful way to refocus on what the day is all about. It’s kind of a nice thing to go to God’s house on his birthday and celebrate it with a whole congregation. Everyone gets prettied up and there’s even cake and coffee after, which really, is the best way to celebrate our father. We introduced Steph A. to the concept of waddling up and down the sidewalk in a Sari and she pulled it off absolutely gorgeously!

The eating continued that afternoon with a turkey the size of small nation and multiple pies (Made by the lovely Steph Anderson herself). After the guests had eaten their last, the dishes were done and the sweatpants were changed into, the family collapsed on the couch to watch a thoroughly brainless movie, guilt free.

The next day began with a trip of the unplanned variety. Having decided to crash in at Nicholas Jonathan John’s estate, the girls ad I let him introduce us to the wonderful world of Sri Lankan country life.

Hiking through leech infested terrain we made our way up to a chicken coop of phenomenal size, a goat pen and finally to pigs. This was all very exciting because it had been a season of love previously and baby animals were frolicking all over the place. We babied a little piglet whom, after some debate, we named Edgar…Eddie for short. He was the runt of the pack, a little pink piglet with black spots all over him and we all became rather attached. Our other little heart breaker came in the form of a little black chick that seemed a tad overwhelmed by the masses of downy little yellow chicks that where very evidently the majority. We named him also and pronounced him ours.

Edgar the Piglet and the little brown chicken named Good Boy

Lunch of course was a feast beyond measurable words of praise…Nicky’s mom out-did herself and I was sure I wouldn’t eat for another two days at least. That was until dinner came around anyway. You cannot argue with Sri Lankan food in any circumstance, I should have known. A waterfall was splashed in and the tea factory was visited, the tea tour expertly given by Nicholas himself and tea bags graciously handed out to delighted girls. I smuggled some into the states so any of you are more than welcome for a good strong cup of Lankan brew.

Take that seriously because an invitation to the Gray House for tea is in every way meant.

Hey, happy new year!