In my experience a Bulgarian Christmas is family, food, and snow — all in large portions. To be fair, minus the snow, that pretty much describes any time of year in Bulgaria! Allow me to elaborate (and share a few specifics)…
For the purposes of this list family and food are one in the same; recipes and traditions about food are passed down from generation to generation, and food is enjoyed together.
Apparently, according to traditions in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, people are supposed to forgo animal products like meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc for forty days before Christmas. In practice (and probably more so in urban areas) it seems like people generally only do this on Christmas eve.
It’s winter and it’s still beautiful here in San Diego, California. I wouldn’t get in the water, but sitting on the bluff eating a California burrito (basically carne asada with french fries) is definitely something I can do. ;)
Also, it was a beautiful day in Laguna Beach today. This is from my grandma’s house on the cliff in Laguna — I spent a lot of summers on this beach!
We’ve arrived in Dar Es Salaam. Dirty, hairy (my face), and with a little girl on our lap (Randi’s lap). Now that I’ve had a shower, a decent night of sleep, and gotten a shave at the local barber, I guess it wasn’t that bad (and actually, the longest ride goes to the thirty-hour Kenya-Ethiopia trip, and worst was probably the four-hours-on-a-bumpy-ass-dirt-road-stop-in-every-village Malindi–Lamu ride Sara and I took in 2007). Our bus from Moshi — the main backpackers’ town near Mt. Kilimanjaro — to Dar Es Salaam took longer than we expected, and by the time we arrived last night it was late and we were tired, hungry, and dehydrated. We must have been not too-bad off (or just in survival mode) because I still managed to navigate us to the YWCA hostel where Anique and I stayed last year. For future reference, out-of-town buses will drop you off at the bus station. As soon as you get out a million taxi dudes will be harassing you. Tell them this: “Wee, bwana, dalla dallas zipo mingi! Siwezi chukua taxi!” (dude, there are so many dalla dallas. I can’t take a taxi!). Just grab your bags and follow the locals outside the bus station and pay your two or three hundred shillings to get to the city center.