Last night I went to a Christmas Eve party at the home of some friends. They live in an area that is largely Hispanic, and even those who are not have picked up the custom at this time of year placing some sand with a candle inside a small paper sack and lighting the candles in the evening as a decoration. These little lights are known as either luminarias or farolitos.
My hosts had thrown their home open to friends and family from just before sundown to 10:00 pm, and set out an impressive spread of hot food, snacks, wine, and soft drinks. Guests could briefly drop in during those hours or stay as long as they liked.
One of my hosts has both a brother and sister living within walking distance with whom they are very close (pun intended!), and they and their spouses turned up last night. Extremely sweet people!
I stayed for most of the party. I would guess that at any given time there were at least 25 people in the house standing or sitting around eating and drinking and laughing and sharing stories.
I knew almost no one there except for my hosts. They know I’m transgender. Neither they nor I made a point of sharing that information because they are very polite and considerate and on my part because I’ve learned that if someone learns I’m trans the conversation becomes all about that, and I’d much rather listen to the experiences someone else has had and seek common interests to discuss.
They have fascinating friends! I had conversations with many of them. There was a lovely older woman who has been living in a Buddhist community and just radiated tranquility and benevolence. There was a young couple who just got back from Burma/Myanmar. He is a photo journalist; she is a humanitarian activist.
I talked with a physicist about writing books. We compared notes on the differences between writing novels (me) and writing a textbook (him) on using x-rays (I have a decent, educated layperson’s knowledge of science but did not fully understand everything he was telling me!) to assess the tensile strength and other properties of different materials. He has been much more of a literary success than I since his book is now in its second printing.
I’m waiting for the movie!
I met a family of Americans who spent the last several years living in Switzerland where the parents insisted that the kids speak only German at home, except when talking to their mother, who spoke to them only in English. They just got back and are in serious culture shock!
I contributed to the party by washing and drying dishes, which went on in spurts all evening because my hosts just didn’t have enough dishes, bowls, glasses, and silverware for everyone, so everything had to be re-washed for each new wave of guests. I don’t mind doing useful work!
Around nine o’clock, most of us went out to walk the area to admire the luminarias that surrounded or were on top of most of the houses in the neighborhood. By that time, while it was still above freezing, it was definitely getting quite chilly.
The only thing I miss about testosterone–I hate that stuff and the horrible things it did to me!–is that when it disappeared from my system it took my tolerance for cold with it. I was wearing a long-sleeve top and sweater with my skirt, tights, and boots, which would have been fine had I just needed to hurry between my car and a warm building, but was not nearly enough to cope with prolonged exposure to December weather.
I was shivering to the point where one of the guys–who says chivalry is dead?–noticed and offered the little lady the heavy jacket he was wearing. I declined his kind offer, but I must say I loved that moment! I went back to the house before walking the whole neighborhood because I feared hypothermia. (Yes, I am a hypochondriac!)
So that was my Christmas Eve evening. Whatever you do this time of year, I wish you all the very best!!