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December 16, 2008 …see the streetlights, even stoplights, blinking bright red and green…

I’m a little starved for Christmas decorations. And music. And, well, anything reminiscent of Christmas. My parents offered to fly me back to the US for Christmas, and I turned them down. I had reasons – didn’t want to be the dilettante American who’s always jetting home, wanted to experience a full winter on “the mountain”, wanted to share the away-from-our-families-on-Christmas experience with other Volunteers, to name a few – but as the day gets closer, I’m starting to question my decision. In Little Women, Jo whines that “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents!” My complaint is closer to “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any music and decorations!” Berberville looks like Whoville after the Grinch stripped all the décor.

…But then I got my Christmas Miracle.

I was down in Springfield, running some errands, and I saw the decorations that the city had put up to welcome the king, who is expected any day. Banners hanging across streets, with alternating red and green flags. (Imagine a Tibetan prayer flag, with those little colored squares hanging off a cord, except that the squares alternate between red ones with a green star and green ones with a gold crown.) And there are flags everywhere. Moroccan flags, with a green star centered over a field of red. And red & green streamers fluttering in front of businesses, and from residence windows, and pretty much everywhere you look.

… And it barely even registered.

I noticed that Springfield was getting gussied up for the king like a belle prepping for a ball, but wrote it off to Moroccan nationalism. And then my friend Jamila whispered in my ear, “They look like Christmas decorations, don’t they?”

They do.

A veil was lifted from my eyes. The decorations, which had been only background noise an instant before, suddenly glowed with the vibrancy they’d always had. The dazzling colors leapt out at me from all directions, as delightfully overblown as my American neighbors’ 100,000 watt Christmas display.

I found myself whistling “Silver Bells”, with the “blinking bright red and green” line featured prominently. All of Springfield is decked out for Christmas.

Accidentally, of course. ;)

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