Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Over the River and Through the Woods

If you’ve been a friend of the Sowerses for any length of time, you know that, when it comes to celebrating holidays, they’ve learned to go with the flow. They’re much more concerned with family than with a date on a calendar. This year, Christmas started early for the Sowers family.

Sowers daughter, Kirstin, is visiting from Florida and the family members in Honduras are thrilled to be able to spend time with her. She’s there for a few weeks, which pretty much has Trish on cloud 9. Kirstin is spending as much time as possible in the company of RJ, Abby, and Nathan. As the family’s eldest child, she’s also getting reacquainted with Ben, the youngest child. Kirstin moved to the U.S. around ten years ago, meaning that Ben was still in elementary school when she left. While she has seen him over the years, they haven’t had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together--certainly not since he has been in high school.

Last weekend, Rachel, Brandy, and Nathan visited Gracias. Brandy’s military career doesn’t allow for a lot of scheduling flexibility. While military personnel in Honduras do get a holiday break, it doesn’t necessarily fall on the actual holiday. So, Rachel and Brandy decided to do the Honduran equivalent of going over the river and through the woods to get Nathan to Nana and Grandpa’s house. (That Honduran equivalent included leaving home in the wee hours of the morning, to avoid protests which were causing road closures!)

 Trish had already purchased food for a special Christmas dinner and it was put to good use, just earlier than expected! The family (minus Gus and Boo, who were unable to visit at this time) gathered around the table for a big, ham dinner. If you’re taking a headcount, the attendees included: Allen, Trish, Kirsten, Russell, Iris, RJ, Abby, Brandy, Rachel, Nathan, and Ben. They exchanged what Christmas presents they had. Many of their presents are still on the container coming from Maryland (which is currently expected to arrive around Dec. 21st).

Iris' brother,
Juan Ramon
This doesn’t mean the season is over for them. Russell’s family drove to Tegucigalpa for the college graduation of Iris’s brother, Juan Ramon. Kirstin hitched a ride with them, in order to spend more time with Rachel, Brandy, and Nathan.

When the actual calendar dates do arrive, the Sowers family celebrates on the 24th and the 25th with a mix of American and Honduran traditions. In Honduras, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, culminating in LOTS of fireworks at midnight. Families go from house to house visiting friends and relatives all evening on Christmas Eve. Russell, Iris, RJ, and Abby will celebrate the Honduran traditions with Iris’s family, staying up until well after midnight. Then, on Christmas morning, they will be at Allen and Trish’s house for a big Christmas breakfast, and gifts under the tree. According to Nana, the grandchildren will be tired, but the excitement should keep them going!

While Christopher and Bethany (Forever “Gus” and “Boo” in my mind!) were unable to schedule a holiday visit, due to the demands of nursing school and work, it is a precious treat to have so much of the family together.

 - posted by Christi

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