Bit strange. For the first time in 5 years I’ll celebrate Christmas in Norway! And I will not be alone!
In five years I have celebrated Christmas in Kenya. There have been very different Christmas; one thing is that I’ve been in a Muslim environment in which Jesus is not the central character. But Jesus is important for many Muslims through his role model. He is an important prophet for them, but he is not the most important. On the other side: Since I am a Christian, we have followed a few Christian traditions: We have had Christmas tree, have had Christmas dinner, has handed out Christmas gifts and I have sung some Christmas carols.
Christianity dominates in the Kenyan society, and some commercial elements you can find; part mall has acquired Christmas tree (artificial of course, can be used year after year), some hanging up a bit garish light on the facade of the supermarket, Christmas decorations can also be found in supermarkets if you look closely. But it does not take off like with us where we flooded with lights and decorations, Christmas catalogues, Christmas calendars, Christmas markets, Christmas a and Christmas b. This is Fatma and Salamah meets for the first time, and they are absolutely captivated by it. Some of these traditions, I have actually forgotten (repressed?) During the 5 years. That’s not all I put as much appreciated.
A Mall in Kristiansand
It has been in many ways a busy autumn. Fatma and Salamah came in late July and until now they have mainly attended Norwegian courses to learn Norwegian. I must say that they both have been eager. The school has taken a lot of time for both and both have new friends. Salamah goes to “mottak”(receive-) school to prepare her selves to go on ‘real’ school here in the neighbourhood soon after New Year. So she has nothing to some friends at Tinnheia too. In the summer I moved to Tinnheia to get more space. It is
not as central as Lund, but it is excellent to walk to town from here too in under half an hour. During the day there is often busses. We have a great view over the city and archipelago, especially from the kitchen window.
Our kitchen view
During the autumn we have come around a bit, at least in southern Norway, a short trip to Denmark and a trip to Hovden in September when the mountain was at it?s finest. Some also bathed in the sea and in the 3rd Stampe, we have gone many walks in the woods. Now the temperature crept down below zero, so they become more familiar with slippery roads. Crampons are purchased. Some rejoice very that snow will come. I tiny little amount of snow did come one day.
And so I have taken up again chorus activity. I am now a member of three choirs, but two of the choirs are little overlap. The highlight has until now been the performance of Handel’s “Messiah” with Krsistiansand Symfoniorlester (KSO) and Tõnu Kaljuste conducting. It was a great experience, but also demanded a lot of time. The cathedral was filled to the brim and the audience was thrilled. Right now we are preparing for two performances of “Christmas Gospel” also with KSO, with a children’s choir and choir “Sølvstrupene” (The silver voices – a choir for us passed 62) + Kristiansand Opera and Chamber Choir (KKOK), where I am participating both! In addition I have been to several concerts in source with KSO – an orchestra that really has risen. Live music is actually better than the best stereo!
Performing Messias Performing the christmas gospel
I’ve been to Africa this year as well, in two rounds, including most of the winter. I had to go home the very end of March, and then I came straight home to snow, but it did not last long fortunately. It was very cold. Then it was not yet decided anything about Fatma and Salmah could come to Norway. I decided to take another trip to Kenya in late May, when the flight was very cheap. During the three weeks I was “home”, there were two important things: MammaRashah got a son and Fatma told by Immigration that she was welcome to Norway with Salmah – temporary residence permit for one year at a time. We decided that they could come in late July. In the meantime I bought a townhouse in Tinnheia and sold my apartment in Lund to the neighbour!!! Relocation process was tough. But now they are here and thrive on it.
Would have liked some of the heat from Kenya here. Apart from the usual trips to Nairobi and Nairobi Nat. Park, we had some trips this year, inter alia, Watamu on the coast and a trip to the interior which ended up safari in Masai Mara. These were great and exciting trips I have written about previously. It was also now I got my diagnosis, it’s very much under control.
Will I return to Kenya? The answer is yes, but I do not know when. It depends on the situation here. Maybe next year?
So I hope everyone enjoys and will get a nice Christmas party. Our Christmas will in all cases be special!