Since New Year is the focal point of the season here, school children don't even start their vacation until around Dec. 28. That fact plus our work schedule, the cold weather, and being sick made us decide to celebrate our Christmas on New Year as well, thus magically gaining an extra week to do Christmas shopping. It wasn't hard to explain to Misha that Dyed Moroz (Father Frost, aka Santa) comes on Dec. 31 in Kyrgyzstan. All the children here have to wait until then for their presents.
Even so, we did let the boys open a few presents on Christmas Day, and we enjoyed a breakfast of snowman-shaped pancakes.
On Wednesday, I got to see the results of Misha's much-anticipated, much-rehearsed Novi God (“New Year”) school program. It was adorable! (I am aware that I am probably biased).
Before the big event, we had to buy Misha a white shirt and white pants to wear under his snowman costume. We found a good shirt, but to Misha's dismay, we could only find grey pants in our last-minute shopping run. However, we discovered that if we turned them inside out, the soft white lining looked just like snow. With Misha appeased, we took his white clothes to school the next day. I sent Misha off to his classroom, only to have him come running back out saying that his teacher wanted to talk to me. Oh great, I thought. (His teacher is a nice Russian lady, and Russian people in my experience are extremely blunt.) Didn't you bring any white tights? she asked in Russian. I confessed that the only pants we could find were these sweatpants. She looked at the pants and gasped in surprise, "Ani na-iznyanku, chto-li?!" (which would translate rather like, "You meant to tell me they're inside-out?!") -- to which I explained that Misha and I thought they looked nice and snowy. She paused and said, “Nu, da, mojet-bit.” (Well, yes, maybe.) In the end, they worked out perfectly. After all, it's only a party for six-year-olds and their own parents!
|My cute little snowman|
|Santa, Kyrgyz style|
|Misha and his partner performed a Snowman Dance|
All the kids in Misha's class were dressed up in various costumes, from mini Santas to snowmen to animals and even pirates. The teaching staff also dressed up to give the performance its own Dyed Moroz (Father Frost), Sniegurichka (Snow Girl, the granddaughter of Father Frost), Baba Yaga (the Russian witch of folktales), a snow-woman, and an animated bag of toys. The kids sang and danced and remembered their choreography quite well! This time, Misha was able to sing along much better now that he has learned more Russian, and it was easy to tell he really enjoyed doing the songs and dances. At the end of the show, Dyed Moroz reached into his bag of toys and gave each child a big bag of candy and a game.
This is a short clip from their performance. They sing, "Ni zamyorz! Ni zamyorz! Ni adin iz nas. Dyed Moroz, Dyed Moroz, greyet nas sechas" - (Don't freeze, don't freeze, not one of us. Father Frost, Father Frost, warms us up right now.)
Afterward in the hustle and bustle of parents collecting their children and getting them changed back into their normal clothes, Misha whispered to me conspiratorially , “Mom, do you know who that Dyed Moroz REALLY is? He's our teacher, the one who teaches us the dances!” He is firm in his belief that the real Santa is indeed out there, although his questions are getting more detailed, like his recent query, “Is Santa really real, or does he have an airplane?” Way back in summer, he came up with one that still makes me smile: “Do the elves make ALL the toys, or only the wooden ones?”
A few other cozy moments:
|Sebby loving his hot cocoa.|
|Little watercolor painters|
|A moment of peace: brothers watching the Grinch.|
We have just witnessed the craziest fireworks display we have ever seen at midnight. People have been setting off firecrackers all day, gradually increasing as the hour grew later, but nothing could have prepared us for 12:00. We watched open-mouthed from our window as some people shot Roman candles directly from their apartment windows while other groups of people spread out below to blast firecrackers across the small courtyard. Little children as young as five and six clutched firecrackers as long as their arms. Huge city fireworks lit up the sky in green and red in the background as misfired balls of sparks went spitting across the lawn, crashing into our building and exploding. Car alarms went off left and right from the jolts of deafening explosions. A mini hot-air balloon drifted as high as the 9-story building across from us before catching fire, falling rapidly, and burning out from its position stuck in a tree. This went on for more than half an hour, with intermittent firework fun continuing the rest of the night. Thank goodness for winter and cement buildings!
Today, Josh and I finished last-minute wrapping, while Misha conspired with Daddy about my presents and then conspired with me to finish up our secret gift for Daddy that we've been working on for quite some time. We also made oatmeal chocolate-chunk cookies, some of which we left out for Santa. I asked Misha, “Do you think Santa needs one or two?” “Mom, he's HUNGRY! I think he needs four!” was his response.
Now the boys are sleeping peacefully (they missed the midnight madness), and Josh and I are looking forward to watching them discover their stockings and toys in the morning.