We had a wonderful holiday season here in Nicaragua. It all started in early December with La Purisima and La Griteria. The whole month is full of parties, happiness, traditions and religious practices. There are massive processions, Christmas lights that light up the country and a whole lot of fireworks.
In early December, I (Cassie) headed to Breckenridge, Colorado for the Gogolen wedding. My sister married the man of her dreams and I was so proud to stand beside them on their special day.
While I was in Colorado, Kevin and Estela celebrated La Purisma and La Griteria with our neighbors. We also went to La Avenida Bolivar several times throughout the month to walk the street and see the manger scenes. They line the street for a couple of kilometers, there are Christmas lights everywhere, loud music, vendors selling their goods and overall, just a great way to spend an evening.
We celebrated Sinterklaas, a Dutch holiday, a few days late. Kevin is 100% Dutch, so this is something that we have done together for the past few years. I am unsure if we celebrate it properly, but for us it involves leaving our shoes out the night before and having them filled with an orange, Dutch chocolates and other candies. Estela seemed to enjoy it, mostly due to the sweets! We didn’t celebrate my Swedish holiday of Santa Lucia, but will make sure to do that next year.
A lot of holiday baking happened in our kitchen this year. We spent several late evenings in the kitchen baking our favorite treats.
Estela and I backpacked a couple hours north via bus to Esteli to celebrate Christmas with our close friends who live there. Kevin joined us later in the week and we enjoyed a special Christmas dinner with them.
After our time in Esteli, we continued on an old school bus to one of our favorite places in Nicaragua, Miraflor. We had not visited in over a year, so I decided to give this trip to Kevin as a part of his Christmas present. We enjoyed two very cold nights, amist the cloud forest and beautiful terrain.
A couple of days before Christmas, we held a Barrio Christmas Party for all of the kids. We had over fifty kids show up, ranging in age from a couple of months to sixteen years old. It was a chaotic, but joyful couple of hours. We played BINGO, colored manger scenes, made reindeer ornaments, ate Baho, smacked a piñata and shared gifts. We already miss these kids!
Our Christmas Eve was very special. We had coffee and dessert with friends, Estela enjoyed drinking her warm milk. Afterwards we headed over to our friend Rodolfo’s home. We spent a couple of hours there hanging out with his family, listening to Christmas music in Spanish and trying out their traditional relleno. We then went to our host family Gretel’s home for the rest of the evening. This included a special dinner at midnight, gifts, laughter and lots of fireworks.
Christmas Day involved sleeping in (my dream come true), a special breakfast made by Kevin (recipes from my mom), stockings, reading the Christmas story, gifts, naps, a delicious Italian dinner and the new Charlie Brown movie. It was the perfect day together as a family of three!
Blessings to you in this New Year!
*Because we are currently in the adoption process and are not yet legal parents of Estela, we are not able to share any identifying pictures of her. We can assure you that she is adorable!