So how is Christmas celebrated in Kupang? We were quite curious, and probably still are. I guess it depends on who you ask. Lots of fireworks and motorbike rides in the streets, very noisy, one person told us. Fireworks we have had shot up outside our windows everyday since we came back from KL. One of our neighbours has said that he has bought in 1000 fireworks to be shot up today, in front of our house of course, we obviously have something to look forwards too!
The shops and houses in Kupang have been decorated with christmas trees and other christmas decorations ( some of these decorations are left up the whole year in real asian style). The bigger shops have been playing christmas music. On the 25th of december most shops were closed. Churches were full and also some on the 24th. Other than that life seems to go on as normal.
One thing that is not very normal though is that the governor puts on a big party open to everyone on the 25th. People come to his enormous gardens and parks to eat and have a nice time. These areas are (sadly) closed to the public the rest of the year.
So how has christmas been in the Gilmour home? I think we can say that we have had an untraditional traditional norwegian celebration. Traditional in the sense that we had made pepperkaker and kakemenn, had a christmas tree and christmas gifts. ( The christmas tree we thought ended up being quite nice, in spite of the fact that it was fake…). Untraditional in the sense that we had lasagna for dinner on christmas eve, and marshmallow cake for dessert…We had a very nice celebration of the birth of Jesus. We felt we got to celebrate in a way that was nice for Him, and in a way that we will remember.
On the 25th we went to a nice and peaceful place right outside Kupang where we like to go for walks. The boys got to play some football, we all got to enjoy the scenery and we got to finish off the christmas cookies.
Yesterday we got to celebrate Peter’s 41st birthday!!! This was also a special day for Peter as it was 10 years since his father died. [Peter writing here now: My Dad had had bowel cancer 2 years previously. After a tumor was removed it was said that if the cancer returned within 5 years, then there was nothing to be done for him. The day before my year in Costa Rica was up, I was told he had bone cancer. 4 months later he died on my birthday. He was in a lot of pain at the end as the cancer had spread to his lungs, and most of his body. He was given morphine but it had no effect. However, when he died, he had a smile on his face. The day before I had asked him if he was afraid of dying. He said no, as he knew where he was going. My Dad was not perfect, he had been a Christian, but then fell away from God. He made many bad decisions in his life, especially regarding his family. Yet in the last few years of his life he did come back to God. A few weeks before he died, I had a dream where someone was telling me that my Dad had a few weeks to live. Shortly after he died, I had another dream…my Dad was at a train station, and I knew that he had reached the final destination, that he had arrived. I believe this was God’s way of telling me that my Dad was with Him now. I have gotten over the death of my Dad a long time ago, but as it was the 10th anniversary of his death yesterday it seemed right to say all this here.]
In addition we were invited to an engagement party. A few hundred people were invited to a party in a newly opened hotel here in Kupang. The girl who got engaged is the sister of one of our friends. We have met her a few times even though she normally lives in Sydney. She is a very very nice girl, and some of you might recognize her from a picture from one of our first posts on the blog. Her husband to be is from one of the nearby islands. These are ethnically chinese people. They have never been to China, they speak no chinese, but keep their traditions and only marry other chinese. Their families have been in Kupang for 14 generations. The party was very nice with lots of food. It started with exchange of gifts between the families. Then there were speeches and prayers. At the end the guests were taken pictures of with the couple before they went home.
We want again to thank you for following us on our blog, and wish you all a happy new years eve celebration. Hope you will all have a good start to 2013!!!