Feliz Navidad en Peru!

I am one lucky chick.

I have been fortunate enough to spend holidays in some pretty exotic places with some incredible people. I have fond memories of:

- An untraditional Christmas in Morocco with my sister Stephanie then New Years Eve in Plaza Cataluyna in Barcelona with MBA pals

-Easter in Moscow, Russia with my Zurich friends Bernardo, Mariana and Armando

- New Years Eve standing with the press at Times Square in NYC with my partner-in-crime Jane

- Christmas in Manila, Philippines with my friend Tina and her warm family

- The el Nino Christmas in Cuba and a national-lampoon style Christmas in California with my family

-Easter exploring Malta with an United Nations group of friends including Priscilla, Guiomar, Vanessa, Bernardo and Thomas

- New Years Eve dancing in Cebu, Philippines with Japanese friend Yoshi and Taiwanese friend Lynn

- La Semana Santa Easter in Sevilla, Spain with my good Canadian pal Steph and also a Catalan Easter in Barcelona with my friend Maria and her family.

-New Years Eve with cousins and sister in Arizona

- Traditional Swiss Christmas (en francais) in Lausanne with my sister and an international family

-New Years Eve stuffing my mouth with grapes at midnight with Belgian friend Tinneke in Salamanca, Spain

-Blowing out birthday candles in Barcelona ( 3 years in a row!), Zurich and also Medellin and Cartagena, Colombia.

Most recently, I had the good fortune to spend the 2012 Christmas season traveling through Peru to eventually  to spend Christmas with my good friend Guiomar and her awesome family in Lima. It was a spectacular week of food, family and laughs.

So, what’s Christmas in Lima like you ask? Here’s a recount of December 2012’s holiday

After Christmas Eve mass, where everyone brought the baby Jesus from their family nativity scenes to be blessed, we enjoyed a nice family dinner at Guiomar’s aunt’s house. Close to midnight,  I was surprised by loud noises outside.  We all went outside to the streets and stood in awe of the lit sky. On Christmas Eve in Lima, the skies are set ablaze. It’s a slightly wild show as neighbours purchase fireworks and light them in their driveways or in local parks.

Christmas Eve Fireworks in Lima

Christmas Eve Fireworks in Lima

We arrived home in the early morning hours of Christmas Day so we exchanged warm Christmas greetings before going to sleep.  It was a sunny December 25th morning in Lima and I enjoyed seeing my family in wintery Canada via skype.

At mid-day, Guiomar’s parents, aunt, grandfather and I all went over to her Uncle’s house for a big family Christmas lunch. We were greeted with warm hugs, laughter and Christmas cheer in everyone’s voices.  The Christmas tree was so packed with gifts that it seems to lift off the floor. Slowly by slowly, Guiomar’s Peruvian family arrived and soon the house was full of music, food, hugs and latin warmth.

Peruvian family in Lima

Peruvian family in Lima

Everyone relished in each other’s company- catching up on the year gone by, pinching the cheeks of the toddlers, raising toasts to news of  graduations, new jobs and new babies in the family. I seemed to have a special radar for the delicious Peruvian treats being circulated- deep fried yucca sticks and chicken heart skewers. ( In retrospect, I’m grateful that Guio gently slapped my hand  away from yucca sticks and reminded me that there was a huge Peruvian buffet coming in less than an hour. I snuck another one when she wasn’t looking anyway….HA!)

There was a call to the buffet. No words will be able to describe the magnificent feast of Peruvian delicacies….so I’ll let these photos paint the picture ( as a foreign guest, I was even able to bud in line. Extra bonus!)

Christmas Lunch Buffet...unveiled

Christmas Lunch Buffet…unveiled

Peruvian Xmas feast

Peruvian Xmas feast

I really enjoyed sitting next to Guio’s godson who devoured multiple plates of rice and chicken. I tried to make conversation en espanol with him and he politely answered my many annoying questions while maintaining laser focus on the Christmas lunch plate in front of him. We seemed to make eye contact only while we chugged our glasses of purple Chicha Morada. ( Sidenote: Chicha morada is one of the most amazing drinks I’ve ever had. It’s purple corn juice. I know, sounds weird right? Trust me, it’s a sweet and addictive liquid that will make you crave purple corn like never before. Read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicha_morada )

My chicha morada partner-in-crime

My chicha morada partner-in-crime

Within an hour, the entire backyard of adults and kids were happily stuffed and pouring each other small cups of coffee to avoid the sleepy eyes that come along with any food coma. A fun family photo session ensued and then Guio and I savored time playing with her little cousins. Soon we were all summoned to the living room- it was gift time! I was utterly impressed with how well organized the gift giving process went. Guio’s cousin methodically called out  a recipients name and also announced whom the gift was from. Wrapping paper was quickly swept up and all the young kids gave kisses and hugs before madly unwrapping their gifts. It was an absolute joy to watch as the room overflowed with love, warm laughter and respect.

Gift time!

Gift time!

The arrival of Guio’s brother, sister-in-law and new little nephew completed the day as it was the first time many of her family members met the youngest member of the family. My very Peruvian Christmas and Guio’s family reunion was complete with a photo of the youngest member of the family in the eldest member’s arms.

Generations come together on Xmas day

Generations come together on Xmas day

But wait…did I mention that I also had the privilege of ringing in the New Year 2013 with 5 Colombian friends in Cusco,Peru?

That’s for another post…..

 

 

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One Response to “Feliz Navidad en Peru!”

  1. Señorita!!

    Awesomeeeeeeeeeee note!! You described it perfectly!!
    We were blessed to have your company and to be part of our family celebration. Hope to see you soon, LEONARDO is a big fellow right now!! I´ll post some photos.

    Cheers!!!

    Pablo´s Gigi´s super mega best person ever brother ;)

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