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Christmas in Monrovia

Ho-ho-ho it's hot-hot-hot.

Ho-ho-ho it's hot-hot-hot.

Having grown up in a four-season, cold winter, white-Christmas climate, it’s a bit hard for me to get into the holiday frame of mind when it’s over thirty degrees Celsius outside. Psychologically, I barely registered that Christmas was coming. But it wasn’t for lack of Christmas decorations: a couple of weeks before Christmas, the streets of Monrovia suddenly became flooded with Christmas paraphernalia, evidently imported from China judging by the low level of quality and high level of cheesiness.

Stores, offices, and restaurants got newly decked out with delightfully tacky “M-E-R-R-Y-C-H-R-I-S-T-A-S” garlands; cardboard Santa faces in pink, gold, and red; technicolor flashing Christmas lights; and inflatable snowmen and reindeer. Men walked down the streets carrying plastic Christmas trees, the metal frame barely disguised in a thin layer of wrap-on pine needles. No worries – just cover it up with some gold plastic tinsel, and distract the viewer with a beeping digital version of jingle bells on two minute infinite repeat.

I’m normally one for the classy, understated style of Christmas (my family only ever had white lights on the Christmas tree, hung alongside hand-made heirloom ornaments), but my first Christmas in Monrovia has actually made me quite fond of tasteless mass-produced Christmas tack. I kind of want to buy a Santa-head to hang on my front door…

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About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.

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