Yesterday was Christmas Eve, and there were some cultural exchanges going on!
First, I was able to give my host family a little mini-lesson on how to use a microwave. They got a new one, and I showed them how to make microwave popcorn. Anita, my host mom, was like, "You are an expert at this Connie," and all I could do was laugh and say yeah, I've made a few bags before!
Next on the agenda was a Christmas Eve dinner with all of Anita's family. I've never eaten so much before. They had crab, shrimp, fish, kamote (sweet potatoes), rice, buko salad (coconut salad), and actual Pepsi and 7-Up. Amazing. I'm so glad I was sent to seafood eating Philippines, and not yak eating Mongolia. :)
We left for midnight mass around 9:45, bringing our own plastic chairs. We got there just as the last of the cathederal was filling up. The place was packed, with people standing all around the outside of the doors. It started around 10, and went up till midnight. The entire service is in Cebuano, so I really don't have any idea what's being said, but you can obviously tell this is an important service to so many Filipinos.
After mass it was time for yet another meal... I'm writing this on Christmas morning, and I'm still full! This meal is called Noche Bueno, and is a traditional time to eat together as the Christmas morning begins. Once everything was said and done, it was around 1am, way past my Filipino bedtime!