On Christmas Eve, when the last few of the other PCVs got here, we went to the market to get the last few items we needed to cook. After bringing them back to the apartment we packed all our stuff up for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, and headed across town to my sitemate's house. She lives on the way to our final destination for the evening, a radio tower on a hill above town. We stopped by to say hello to everyone staying there, then continued on our way to meet them at the tower. From my sitemate's house it's only through a few pastures, across two creeks, and up the rock studded hill avoiding the cows for a 20 min walk to arrive. We plopped down on some rocks setting down a blanket upon which we could lay out all our food. We had compiled many different kinds of cheeses (Honduran and not quite the same quality of those at home), meats, treats, and other appetizer dishes to share for the evening. We had the entire evening to eat, chat, and look at the beautiful view of the city down below us. As it got darker we could even see the fireworks that, little did we know then, would just increase in size, danger, loudness, and intensity throughout the night. After staying up there for a few hours we headed back down the hill, headlamps on, back to my apartment.
Although we stayed up quite a while longer talking and sharing Christmas and family stories with one another, we hadn't intended on staying up late. Ocotepeque, apparently, had no regards for our plans because the fireworks and firecrackers just kept getting louder and louder. The kids on my street were throwing firecrackers all over just outside my bedroom window and the youngest one was probably three. As it approaches midnight, just getting louder and louder, we all get out of bed and decide to head up to the roof to watch. I already live on the second story, a high rise for my town, so you get quite the view from the roof. When we got up there, it looked and sounded like my town was under attack. There were firecrackers going off everywhere and fireworks exploding VERY low to the ground. The loudest firecrackers were blowing up part of the street around the corner from me in front of the police station. You may be asking how anyone can be blowing up the street in front of the police station, but the culprits won't get in trouble since it was the police themselves, in uniform and all. There were some fireball looking fireworks flying through the air looking like they were coming right at us, but overall we made it through the night unscathed, not taking eardrums into account.
Christmas Day was wonderful. It was extraordinarily quiet in the morning, an aftermath of the firecrackers I believe, so we all slept in and relaxed most of the day. We watched a Christmas movie, ate Christmas cookies and peppermint goodies, and cooked for dinner. We had our Christmas dinner up on my roof and I invited my neighbor who is in her practicum to be a doctor and was just getting back after working since 7am Christmas Eve, so she came as well. It was great to have a more tranquila night after the night before and it was a wonderful Christmas away from home and family.
I hope everyone had the happiest of holidays and has a wonderful new year!