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Joyeux Noël

My Christmas greeting for y’all is the only thing French that I could enjoy giving this year of the Kung Flu!

I was already thinking of spending a Norwegian Christmas this year with all the snow and cozy fireplace activities to do when all went tumbling down, down, and more down since last March 21 when my flight to Paris was canceled and I haven’t regretted it a bit, staying in the comforts of home in Bacolod.

But the heart wanders on and after doing my Christmas decor with a novel twist to my Nativity scene using European busts to represent Mary and Joseph, I feel awful not being able to participate with the holiday season’s preparations in Norway. My friend Pål started with cooking some sauerkraut while sister-in-law Bente baked rice puffs and chocolate cookies.

Intimate lunch with Monsignor Guillaume Gaston, ELG, and Adjie Lizares*

Then, there was Christmas wreath making for a family tradition of laying one in the grave of loved ones instead of the usual flowers. Since the cold could be quite frightful, Norwegians excel in staying indoors and gather to prepare homemade decors and food to share and enjoy during the cold winter months. I remember last year, Pål gathering five of his coworkers to a stay-in his house and all of them contributed in making DIY ornaments for their Christmas trees.

My stylized Nativity scene*

It’s this sense of community and home based activities that I long to experience in Norway. Of course, there’s the dark side of me that says I’ll be climbing walls after three days! But after this pandemic, I’ve learned how to enjoy home activities with my select bubble of friends and family and really don’t mind not going out at all anymore.

Who can fault me for enjoying a storm of shooting stars in the dark of the night, up in Alangilan; breathing in the cool air of the mountains while sipping wine and nibbling cheese until four in the morning? It was a treat watching the Star of Bethlehem that comes out only every 800 years, by the seaside Palmas del Mar, reveling in the dark of twilight as the whole resort is closed.

How blessed to be able to invite Monsignor Gaston over for an intimate lunch so that my whole staff can confess in preparation for Christmas Day! Most of all to participate in the virtual 88th birthday of our beloved Editor-in-Chief, Ninfa Leonardia.

As she has brought Bacolod journalism global awards, dear Twinkling led the way to computerized personal milestones and social interaction. May you keep guiding us through these turbulent times with your daily pep talks in your Visayan DAILY STAR columns!

Last but not the least, let us remember the safety protocols we have been practicing these past months. Social distancing, face masks and face shields in public places and wash your hands as often as possible. Europe is now experiencing a resurge of cases after they opened lockdowns. The world is no longer the same. It will never be, as when I came back to Bacolod the first time from Paris during the Don Juan tragedy, the brownouts and the martial law days. I gave a party, thinking my dancing group would appreciate to learn the latest steps from Paris’ glitzy discos. Well, no one would dance. No one was in a party mood. After five days, my mother sent me back to Paris…she felt that I would be so traumatized with life in the island that I would never come home again.

Stay safe, Dahlinks and Merry Christmas!

My Prayer: May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and in his grace gave us unfailing courage and a firm hope, encourage you and strengthen you to always do and say what is good. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TEV*

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