Monday, December 14, 2009
Merry Christmas to Me
Those who know me know I'm a bit of a Christmas fanatic, the kind of kid who requested Joy to the World for hymn-sings in July, and had "We wish you a Merry Christmas" as my ring tone on my phone all year long. And in the tropical heat and mold, we still open advent calendars and decorate with pine and candles and play the Messiah and bake cookies. We insist upon a live, fresh tree even if it is not much to look at, and can only hold a fraction of our ornaments. And we always string up lights, but not very many. For one, our tree usually can't support more than one strand (though we also add in lights around doors or windows). But mostly our power can't support them. With solar panels charging batteries to run computers, house lights, internet satellite, and other essentials like the coffee grinder . . the margin available for Christmas lights has been slim. So we put them up, gather, plug in and ooohh and ahhhh for about five or ten minutes, then have to turn them off. Better than nothing. But this year Bundibugyo has POWER. It has been a complex month-long process to get the wires running along the road connected to our house, involving inspectors and papers and stamps and fees and grounding wires and tests and indoor outlets. But last night Scott put up FOUR strands of wildly colorful hypnotically blinking LED Christmas lights he bought in Kampala, on our tree and around two windows. WOW. That's about all there is to say. Anna said she could see them from the community center. We left them on all evening, for hours, playing with the different light-blinking modes (there are 8, from slow fade to disco). In the cause of Christmas, nothing is too tacky, and these are the essence of cheer. And we could even simultaneously watch Lord of the Rings (we're going through the extended version a disc at a time for six nights . . . actually a good family Christmas-time treat). All for about 25 cents worth of power, the meter runs on a pre-paid card. These lights are my Christmas present, and I get to enjoy them for hours a night for the next two weeks!