A couple of days before Christmas, Ryan’s mother, Joelle very thoughtfully planned a family party to introduce Danette to the family and allow Ryan some time to reconnect with aunts, uncles and lots of cousins he hadn’t seen for a few years. The three of us spent the day cooking together. Danette made two of her family favorites for the party. The M&M cookies were a challenge because we couldn’t find some of the crucial ingredients in the Mauritian grocery store. Determined to make it work, we used peanut M&Ms and omitted a couple of things. The Haystacks (oatmeal no-bakes), however, turned out almost perfect and they were a hit. Danette happily shared the family recipe passed down from her aunt. It was fun to share some family traditions.
Pictured below are just some of the cousins. They were all so kind to speak in English most of the time while Danette was around but Danette also picked up a lot of new French words too! Hearing a language in the context of conversations is much easier to pick up than from listening to Rosetta Stone! We were also happy to get to spend a little more time with Ryan’s Godfather, Uncle Bobby.
The cousins all ended up on the front balcony talking, laughing, drinking and making plans for a little day trip out to a little island (we think was called ile aux Bernaches).
We were grateful for the party and the time to spend with Ryan’s family!
On Christmas Eve, we were sitting in the living room and heard fireworks outside. We ran to the balcony to see and Ryan explained that Mauritians LOVE to celebrate with fireworks. So, Christmas Eve we stood outside on the balcony in our PJs with sparklers watching the neighbors set off some pretty impressive fireworks.
On Christmas day, we decided to put Joelle’s crepe pan to use and make crepes with banana and Nutella for breakfast. It wasn’t exactly the healthy choice but it was Christmas and we sort of adopted this tradition last year when we spend Christmas in Paris. Crepes and coffee with yummy Mauritian sugar were a perfect way to start Christmas Day!
Ryan’s aunt, uncle and his cousin Stephanie came for a big Christmas lunch. Lunch is the traditional meal as opposed to Christmas dinner in the States. For Danette, it was very different to be in a summer dress and sandals on Christmas Day but having family to spend the day with made it feel much more like Christmas after all. The “Santa Sisters” Joelle and Ryan’s Aunt Cindy are pictured to the left and below Ryan and his mother on the balcony, cooling off after a warm Christmas Day.
We feel so fortunate to be a little closer to Mauritius while living in Germany, making it a little easier to visit for Christmas. This was Danette’s first tropical Christmas and very different from our last few Christmases together spending the holidays in New York City, Philly, Annapolis, Baltimore, and Paris. It was a unique way to spend Christmas and Danette’s fears of it not feeling like Christmas were quickly erased because we were together with family. It was a Christmas we will never forget!