Being in Aruba for Christmas was awesome in some ways. I can't say there is anything particularly magical about the island during the Christmas season. Yes, there were Christmas trees at every roundabout, and we made a visit to the Cas di Lus (a fake little traditional house they build up on a hill and decorate with lots of Christmas lights). We also noticed it was Christmas when our beloved pan keshi (cheese bread) was sold out by the time we got there at noon on Christmas Eve. But otherwise, it felt a lot like being in Aruba at any other time of year (which is AWESOME, by the way).
The perfect part, though, was going to Church on Sunday, and going to the branch Christmas party on Sunday night. Several people performed Christmas musical numbers, we ate great food, and TONS of people were there. I have never seen that branch building so full before. Chad and I sang, "Merry Christmas, Baby," with Chad playing guitar and me playing piano. I'm really good at agreeing to musical numbers and forgetting that I get really nervous and embarrassed when I actually perform. But overall, the party was great.
Going back to Philadelphia on Christmas Eve was a great choice. We had so much fun being there for Christmas morning. I spent most of the day Christmas Day playing music with Kaitlyn and Ainslee--Kaitlyn got a ukelele for Christmas, and Ainslee plays guitar. We did some mad Taylor Swift and Ingrid Michaelson covers. It was so fun!
This was my first year not going home to Colorado for Christmas (other than on the mission). I definitely missed my family, but altogether, I'd say it was a great Christmas. Also, Chad and I decided a couple months ago to celebrate Three King's Day (Dia de Reyes) like they do in Latin countries, so that we wouldn't have to lug all of our presents with us to Philadelphia. So the season continues! Except, we lost our reserve to save the presents and have opened one or two every day, pretty much. Now I think there are...two left. Good thing Dia de Reyes is tomorrow!! :)