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Living in a Muslim country, I wasn’t really expecting any joyous Christmas celebration similar to what I am used to back home in the Philippines.

But I will take any semblance of merrymaking anytime.

A week ago I was feeling so down as friends and family members got so busy preparing for Christmas, the day when everything is just nice and beautiful for Filipinos.

I was living Christmas vicariously through Facebook as I inhale all the parties and get-togethers that I cannot attend and participate in all because I am here. I was green with envy. Why am I here? That was the question I’ve been asking myself again and again.

But I know the answer. It is my own personal choice.

So when I learned that the Christian staff, which is about 10% of the total population of employees, in my workplace are organizing a party, I invited myself in.

I didn’t know how grand the occasion is for them. They said the party starts at 7 PM.

My jaw dropped open. I went there in my work clothes and saw everybody all dressed up. Like it was a prom or something. I was so used to seeing them in their uniforms but they all look totally different that night. Girls were in their best attires. Some even in their cocktail dresses. And others probably dropped by a salon. Their hair were made up and they were wearing make up! Guys were wearing suit, long sleeves or their favorite batik.

I felt so out of place. Had I known what the occasion entailed, I could have bought a nice dress and curled my hair.

But I am a girl and girls have superpowers. Never underestimate our power to transform. I can move heaven and earth just so I can wear something nice and feel like it’s Christmas. I have nothing nice to wear except for my LBD. But LBD always saves the day.

I asked the driver to bring me back to my room. I only have 10 minutes to prepare. And I made it. Oh yes, I am a real girl.

I have no idea how the program will go. It turned out to be like a church service with performances here and there.

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I was amazed. It was a well-organized event.

They asked me to light one of the candles, similar to Catholic’s advent candles I suppose.

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I also took part in the skit which I volunteered myself to join. I forgot my Indonesian lines and have to peer at my cheat sheet. I still got a warm round of applause afterwards. That’s major effort.

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And after hours of singing carols like Joy to the World and Silent Night in Indonesian version the party was over.

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The short fellowship that ensued with the staff and the picture-taking tickled my heart. I love parties. I love Christmas parties. At that moment, everything felt familiar. The love and joy and smiles and well-wishes.

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That day really felt like Christmas.

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