Tuesday, January 4, 2011
This past Sunday my kids and I (and some other friends/acquaintances) went Christmas Caroling. Now, this isn't just any old caroling, it's caroling for Plast, our Ukrainian Scouting Organization. This is a tradition from old Ukraine, where people carolled in their villages and wished each other a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I remember caroling when I was a kid, and it was this whole big production. There would be lists, directions, phone numbers, maps (way before GPS!), a caravan of like 5 cars, several adults, many MANY children, and a whole afternoon of: pile into the cars, get lost, get to the house, it's the wrong house, go to the one across the street, walk in with snowy/slushy boots, remove your hat, line up, sing 2 songs, wish a Happy New Year, collect the money, then eat leftover chocolates/wafers/candies and drink warm soda that was graciously offered by the hosts. And then do it all like 16 more times. EXHAUSTING. Did I mention we collect money? Yeah- that's the tricky part. The money goes to the organization, others carol for their church, or their choir, or their dance troupe, or the other Ukrainian Scouting organization. The contribution got put on this master list so you could see what people before you gave and you kind of felt like you needed to be close to others' donations but now, with the economy being as it is, it's tough to give a lot, if anything at all! So two days ago, I get my kids, who totally don't want to do this, and meet my friend and her son, and we go to our first house to meet another adult and get our bearings. We rehearsed a bit, and sadly my kids don't really know these Ukie carols and they're all embarassed, and I'm prodding them and it's not going well. My friend decides to make some calls to see if the people will let us come and carol. Our list had (I think) 19 homes. That is nuts!! It's like 1:30, and we are really running late. As she's calling, she's not getting many answers. I joked that those people have an App called "Koliada-Block" that gets used in late December/early January to avoid having the singers come over! Ha! I thought it was funny.... Some phones were busy, others had the answering machine on, we got like 2 people, and were on our way. Three adults and three children. (Three others couldn't make it-not a caravan in the least!!) Another tradition is that someone carries this giant star on a 5 foot stick (representing the star of Bethlehem) but since my friend's car is kind of tight, we couldn't fit the stars (we had 2) in the trunk so they were crammed in next to me and my head in the front seat. Now, I am STARVING, it's like 53 degrees out, I'm overdressed, and every house we go into is like 90 degrees. (Remember how cold my house is? This is all weird to me, this warm house thing...) Now, to make a LONG day/story short, we went to about 6 houses, collected a decent amount of money, and everyone was very friendly. We got to go out for pizza for dinner, so the evening ended nicely, but we did end up spending our last day of vacation doing something we didn't really want to do, but it was the right thing to do. Something I'm trying to teach those kids of mine. Maybe one day it will sink in. "Chudo, chudo, povidaaaa-yut'!"