Sunday, January 16, 2011


"I love AIC soooooo much! I never before had a family like this"

Decorated in squiggly hearts and flowers and scrawled anonymously on the whiteboard in the little kids' study room, the words above made me smile when I saw them last week.

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I need a break from thinking about child marriages and abusive uncles, so I've decided to post a few photos from the winter holidays that I've been meaning to share. It's funny how adamant the kids are that we follow our AIC family traditions exactly as in previous years. Even though these traditions are just a hodgepodge of activities that we've created and pieced together over the past five years, they hold so much significance for the kids.

We made batch after batch of cookies - molasses spice cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate cereal cookies (I'm not sure what the official name for these is) - and banana muffins with red and green sprinkles on top in our lovely oven! Previously, we've baked in the tiny toaster oven, but now we have a real oven to use, thanks to a wonderful family that donated it when they left Pune. We finally managed to get the oven set up and working just in time for some inaugural Christmas cookies!

Poonam provided minute-by-minute updates on the shape, size and color of the baking cookies. She was SO excited.
We started a new tradition this year - a Christmas Eve bonfire on the roof! Combined with another family tradition from years past, spiced apple "cider", sitting in a circle telling stories and spending time together around a warm fire on a clear, starry night was the perfect way to spend Christmas Eve.
Hadisa (to the right) and Nizam, both scholars of the Afghan Scholars' Initiative, joined us for the winter holidays this year. The kids have really enjoyed having them around!
(Ok, fine, it was actually just apple juice spiced with cloves and cinnamon and whatnot, but it was well-received by the kids nonetheless!)

This year's holidays had even stronger undertones of family and togetherness than I can remember in years past. Maybe it's because with every year that passes, we've all been together for that much longer, or maybe it's because we made a concerted effort this year to underschedule our time in anticipation of the kids' school holiday so that we could do more things together at home. Whatever it was, it was perfect. And listening to everyone go around the fire circle on New Year's Eve, sharing their favorite memories from 2010 - laughing, remembering, chiming in - reminds me how far we have all come, together, as a family.

Up next: The AIC family resolutions for 2011!

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