red, braai, and blue.

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I always look forward to holidays. It seems that once the 4th of the July hits each year, the final months of the year fly by. For many American expats, getting US holidays off of work is a rarity, unless the holidays are also observed in our host countries. In Namibia, shared observations of holidays include Good Friday, Easter, Christmas, New Years Eve and Day, to name a few. All other holidays are just days.

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To make up for holidays missed, many times PCVs organize celebrations on weekends before or following the holiday. This year, Independence Day fell on a Tuesday, so to make-up, we held a braai the Saturday following in a town central to many Ovamboland volunteers.

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A braai is in many ways similar to what Americans call a barbecue. And just how Americans use the word barbecue as a noun and a verb, the word braai is no different.

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Photo from Krystal W.jpg

Yeah, Rachael and I braaied pizza. Mmm. Sweet Baby Ray’s!

One of Peace Corps goals is to share American culture with our host country- colleagues, family, and friends. Fortunately for us, most Namibian’s main food group is meat, so it didn’t take much convincing to involve locals.

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Celebrating Independence Day abroad not only brings together PCVs, but also other expats as well. This year, many World Teach Volunteers joined the festivities as well as PCV’s colleagues, significant others, and friends.

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Namibia celebrated 27 years of independence on March 21 of this year, while the United States celebrated 241 years. Being from a country almost 10 times “older” than Namibia, I’m reminded each day the amount of patience that should continue to go into the work I am doing.

During the 2016 holiday season, I started a tradition of using a tablecloth at special events in which everyone signs. Each year, I will hand embroider each person’s writing to remember all my friends and family who I have shared special occasions with during my service and even after. This will most likely be the last big celebration with the current group of volunteers. Group 42 will COS in later this year, and a new group of education volunteers will arrive in August.

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Happy 4th, y’all!

❤ Krystal

while we’re here…

So, I find myself sitting at Starbucks on my day off. Just like many around this time of year I sit here reflecting on 2013. The shouldas, couldas, and wouldas linger very near. I am so happy to be where I am at right now. Although, it may not be the traditional route most may choose, it’s working for me. I know the year is not over, but letsbehonest… I won’t be able to check off all of my list this year.

I’m amazed at the things I HAVE accomplished this year thus far.

I RAN a freaking (no one likes that word) marathon. Are you kidding me? My bones ache right now thinking about it.

I quit my JOB!! Who does that? I still wonder what an outsider thinks when I tell them that as I froth a perfect semi-perfect latte for them.

I fell in love. My heart melts as I write this. Some things are just out of your control. I feel like everything in my life has finally led me to the man of my dreams. Yeah, blah, blah, blah- if you’re even still reading. I’ve told a few of my friends that I finally understand what truly loving someone really means. And not like just loving your parents and siblings, that’s different. I honestly used to think that “falling in love” meant that you had someone tag along long enough that the only option left was to “love” them. I finally get it, and can’t wait to see what lies before us.

I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I didn’t get to send out my letter this year, you know I am a broke college student. Here’s your digital edition. Love much!