There are those who want all immigrants to just go away. They’d rather not be bothered by their needs and by the effort it takes to get to know them. They find the weirdness of foreigners – their food, smells, cultural idiosyncrasies, and stumbling language – a bit distasteful and they don’t want to be imposed upon by them.
Then there are those whose hearts go out to outsiders. I assume if you’re reading this post you may be one of them? You see foreigners and although at times you’re not sure what to do with them, you want to make the world a friendlier place. Maybe you already feel a connection with them, but you hesitate in going deeper because you don’t want them to pounce on you and come on too strong. Or you don’t want to wrestle with the whole language thing.
We’ve now been immigrants for 5 years in a strange land called Spain. Overall the people are friendly, but some Spaniards have really stood out in the crowd. They’ve invited us to their homes, been generous with their time and energy, and helped us when we needed it. Even though we’re far away from family and friends, their care for us and investment in our lives have been a huge blessing. When we’re 70 years old and thinking back to our days in Spain, we’ll still think of them and be grateful.
If you’d like to have this kind of long-lasting impact on the immigrants in your sphere of influence, here are some things you can do:
1. Smile and say hello. To an immigrant who may be used to being ignored, a little kindness goes a long way.
2. Ask questions. Good places to start are where they’re from, how long they’ve been in the country, how they ended up here, and what’s different about their home culture and their new country. You might find – like I do – that the answers are fascinating and you want to hear more rollicking good immigration stories from others, too. In the photo below, four out of five of us are immigrants to Spain, and some of the stories my friends tell about their home countries and how they adjusted to life here are hilarious.
3. Gently correct them when they’re speaking your language. If you can do it in a matter-of-fact and flowing way (instead of in an impatient way), correct them when they’re speaking your language. We have many friends who correct our Spanish right away when we’ve wrongly pronounced a word or when we’ve said the wrong thing. It’s quick and unobtrusive, and it’s super helpful for our pronunciation and vocabulary. It also gives us a few laughs – who knew adolescentes was so difficult to say with the Spanish lisp? Or that peine and pene were so close? Good grief.
4. If there’s a venue for it, invite them to share about their own culture. One of my favorite moments was teaching Chinese to a group of Spanish kids one morning:
My dad saw this picture and said my Chinese was “very cute,” like I was in preschool or something, ha!
5. If they need it, help them translate official forms and letters or find something on a map. This has been priceless to us in crucial moments.
6. Pass down some clothes to them if your kids are older than their kids. Chances are they’re far away from family and don’t have anyone else handing down clothes to them, so they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and actually use your stuff!
Baby K in hand-me-downs:
7. Invite their kids to your kids’ birthday parties. This has been a great way for our kids to keep getting to know their classmates, and it gives us a chance to buy gifts and be generous to those who’ve invited us. We love it!
8. Conversely, when immigrants invite you to their special events, try to go if you can. It will mean so much to them. We had a child dedication for 3 of our kids at church, and three of our Spanish friends came, with their kids dressed up in little suits and dresses. They also came to K’s birthday party that same year and tried to bond with a terrified little M:
9. Take them to cool local places they might not have discovered on their own. One summer, our friends invited us to join them at their vacation house down on Montalvo beach. We had so much fun spending time with them and exploring Montalvo for the first time:
10. If they’re working on a project or shopping for something, send them recommendations if it would help. They may not know all the stores or where to look. One of our friends loves emailing us links. Over the years, as we’ve worked on hostel and Welcome Center plans, he has sent us links to bunk-bed makers, modular hotels, rural houses for sale in Galicia, newspaper articles on the Camino, and portable potties. His ideas for us flow faster than we can act on them, but we’ve appreciated his ownership over us and his desire to see us succeed. He also loves our kids:
11. Give them a gift of something local, whether it be a special local jam, cheese, or sports jersey. Your new friends will treasure it. Think about it – if you give them a Redskins or Bears jersey, they’ll be fans for life, because of you!
Nate, a Deportivo La Coruña soccer fan for life:
In conclusion, befriending an immigrant and investing in his or her life may get off to a slow start. It may feel weird and smell weird. It will probably also sound strange when people talk in their native language in front of you. But you have the opportunity to be a significant blessing and an instrument of peace and friendship, as well as to have your horizons broadened and your life enriched. So go little by little, ask questions, and keep smiling. If you’re an immigrant, or ever lived in another country, I’d love to hear what made you feel welcome, too!
Our team decided to attend Easter Mass at the Cathedral today. We’re not Roman Catholics, as many of you know. However, we live in a predominantly-Catholic country where Easter is celebrated all Holy Week. Every day, different Catholic fraternities have had processionals through the old town, and Thursday and Friday were national holidays. If only we could celebrate Easter like that in America – having a four-day weekend, remembering Christ’s death every day with a processional, and celebrating so richly His Resurrection on Easter Sunday with not one, but multiple parades!
So this year, we wanted to worship on Easter Sunday with the Spaniards, in the Cathedral. It was an experience! The pews were already full when we arrived and there were hundreds of people standing up in the aisles and pressed up against the walls. It had the feel of a concert or major event. There were quite a few pilgrims and plenty of tourists. The majority had out their iPhones, iPads, or cameras to take photos and videos.
One of three main wings of the Cathedral:
If you saw the movie The Way, you may remember that at the end of the movie, Martin Sheen and his friends attended the Pilgrims’ Mass at the Cathedral, during which the priests swung the golden botafumeiro incense holder up and back through the Cathedral. In olden days, pilgrims used to sleep in the upper level of the Cathedral. They stank, and the botafumeiro was swung around to mask the odor. These days, pilgrims no longer sleep inside the Cathedral, but on special holidays and occasions the priests will swing the botafumeiro during special services. Today, they started out with it:
Everyone was taking videos and photos. Here you can see the botafumeiro (very blurry) to the left of the black speaker:
The botafumeiro now still:
After the botafumeiro stopped swinging, many people left. They had only come as tourists to watch that part of Mass, and once it was done, they were done. I felt judgmental of them for a bit. But then my attention was caught by the elderly man standing next to us. He’d been there the entire time, quiet, patiently enduring our kids’ noise and restless movements, and all the tourists pushing by him. The moderator started reciting a prayer, Yo pecador (I Confess to You):
Yo confieso ante Dios Todopoderoso
y ante ustedes, hermanos,
que he pecado mucho
de pensamiento, palabra, obra y omisión:
por mi culpa, por mi culpa, por mi gran culpa.
Por eso ruego a Santa María, siempre Virgen,
a los ángeles, a los santos y a ustedes, hermanos,
que intercedan por mi ante Dios, nuestro Señor. Amén
(I confess to almighty God
and to you, brothers,
that I have sinned,
in thought, word, and deed:
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault.
So I ask blessed Mary ever Virgin,
the angels and saints
and you, brothers,
to pray for me to the Lord our God. Amen.)
This dear man knew the words, recited them solemnly, and pounded his chest with his fist on every “mi” at the part of “por mi culpa, por mi culpa, por mi gran culpa” (through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault). He sounded so sincere. I was judgmental of all those touristy types who had only come for the botafumeiro, but then again I’d been walking around, too, trying to get good photos, thinking about the lighting, worried about the kids’ noise, wondering where the rest of my teammates were in the Cathedral. I’d been way distracted. But he was there to reflect today, and he took it seriously – not the spectacle part, but the sinner’s part. After all, we were the ones Jesus came to save from our darkness and sin, and to give us new life. It was convicting.
Outside, the festivities continued. The Franciscan church down the street (separate from the congregation in the Cathedral) held their own processional with a statue of the risen Jesus:
And then the white tourist train pulled into the square, as it does many times each day:
It felt like a circus! I guess the longer we live here, the more we realize that Santiago – being such a landmark town with its Cathedral, deep Catholic traditions, old historic center, and importance as the end of the Camino – will always have its tourists and colorful and interesting things going on. But when I think back to Easter 2013, I’ll remember the older Spanish man next to us who confessed he was a sinner, and helped me remember to celebrate even more what Christ has done for us.
Back in June, we met up with our Wheaton College classmate, Mitch, on a day when both he and we happened to be back in Wheaton. As we hadn’t seen each other since graduation, we caught up and shared about where the last 15 years had taken us. Mitch was now an assistant superintendent at a private school in Florida, and we talked about bringing over his high-school students for a service trip in Santiago at some point.
At Wheaton in June:
Over the next few months we emailed and Skyped with Mitch and his colleague, Jason, and started planning an exploratory trip where they could come and see Santiago, meet our team, and research the Camino before bringing over any students. Finally, on March 6, they arrived in Spain. A couple days later Nate drove them to Sarria, 115 km (71 miles) from Santiago, so they could begin their time on the Camino:
Photo courtesy of Jason K.
Usually pilgrims take 5 days to walk from Sarria to Santiago, but Jason and Mitch didn’t have much time and they ended up completing the 115 km in 3.5 days, walking 30+ km (18 miles) each of the first three days, and then 20 km the last half-day in order to get to the Cathedral in Santiago for the daily Pilgrims’ Mass at noon. We don’t normally recommend that anyone do it that way, but they were young, in good shape, and crazy enough to try it.
Like most pilgrims, they felt the Camino stretched them to their limit. They were brought down to the basics of life and they learned to be grateful for simple things like food, water, and shelter. And, being from Florida, they were miserable most of the time while walking through the cold and rain. But they made it, and we were all proud of their accomplishment.
Mitch and Jason in front of the Cathedral after a whirlwind 3.5-day pilgrimage:
Once they arrived in Santiago, they went to the Pilgrims’ Office to receive their official Compostelas, the certificates stating they had completed the last 100 km of the Camino:
Here they are with their Pilgrim Credentials. These are “passports” that pilgrims get stamped in hostels and cafes they stop at along the trail. Mitch has his Compostela certificate in the tube he’s holding:
After their Camino trip, we had two days to do business on the ground in Santiago. First, though, we had to do a very Spanish thing and get chocolate and churros for breakfast:
Photo courtesy of Mitch S.
It was important for Jason and Mitch to meet our team and talk about how best to prepare high schoolers to be pilgrims. On the flip side, it was also great for our team to hear about their Camino experience. They mentioned how lonely and invisible they felt when they walked in to Santiago, how unwelcome they felt. Many pilgrims echo these same sentiments, and we hope that with Pilgrim House we can start changing this.
Jason and Mitch with the Pilgrim House team:
We took them to Alameda, the park that overlooks old town Santiago:
I think the guys saw 10 minutes of sunshine the entire time they were in Spain. The rest of the time it was gray, cold, and rainy:
Mitch and I talked about how funny friendships are. Back during freshman year at Wheaton, when he and I were on brother-sister floors in Fischer dorm, we never would have imagined that 19 years later he’d be visiting Nate and me in Spain of all places, and planning to bring over students from his school, the school of which he was assistant superintendent, of all things. It’s great to see how the Lord has worked in his life. And Jason – Jason cracked us up with his stories, made us think with his insights into what he’d seen on the trail, and made us Barcelona fans groan (loudly) because of his love for Ronaldo, Mourinho, and Real Madrid. It was great to meet him, and we appreciated that both he and Mitch took the time and effort to come visit.
This past Tuesday, they packed up their bags and left. Our time was short, but we had a great time hanging out, developing a vision for how we could best partner together, and sharing this moment in Spain together.
Upward and onward, Jason and Mitch, and we’ll see you both soon.
UPDATE 3/23/2013: I tweaked the recipe a bit, making it clearer. If you printed out the recipe when I originally posted it, please print out the revised version for best results. Thanks!
Ever since Nate’s Grandma Swanson introduced me to these bars, they’ve been a favorite in our house. The original recipe (also known as Yammies, Caramel Brownies, or Knock-You-Naked Brownies) uses a box of German chocolate cake mix and Kraft caramels, and unfortunately in Spain neither of these things exists. So for the past few months I’ve made bunches of batches of these from scratch, trying to get the recipe right. Some batches were too cake-like, some too gloopy, and in some the caramel just turned out odd. At one point Nate and I were so sick of these that we had to give them away to neighbors and friends. Now, though, I think we’ve finally hit on a good combination.
First you make a chocolate crust and press 2/3 of it into the pan. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes so that it comes out like this:
While it’s baking, heat sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, corn syrup or honey, and butter to make caramel sauce:
Sprinkle chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bars on top of the cooled crust:
Pour cooled caramel sauce over all:
Flatten and drop reserved crust on top:
Then bake again for 15 – 20 minutes until done:
These are sweet, a bit salty, and chocolatey – whoever came up with the original boxed cake-mix recipe was on to something! And we’re glad we can now make them from ingredients found in Spain. Hope you enjoy!
A couple months ago, Nate and I took a walk through the countryside here in Santiago. We saw this house in the grass and were fascinated by it:
It was interesting to imagine what life was like for the people who lived here: what did they see through their windows? Was it dark inside? Did they sometimes walk along their roof because they could? Did they wish their house could be like their neighbors’ houses, which were set up on the grass instead of in it? How claustrophobic did they feel, or were they used to it? Seriously engrossing questions (that I still think about when I see this photo)!
We get really excited about the Lord’s calling. “The Lord is calling me to do this or that,” we think, and we’re up for the challenge, whether it be living among the poor, working overseas, or being a light in our business place. Life is awesome because we have a purpose, and we feel special because the Lord has singled us out to do His important work. Even when things get tough, there’s no problem - the struggle and hardship are just part of the process, and we patiently tackle any obstacles because overcoming them helps fulfill His calling.
But. What about the times when we feel roadblocked by things unrelated to our calling? Sometimes we’re faced with difficult people, sickness, or interruptions, and we feel totally imposed upon. Our time and attention, instead of being channeled toward fulfilling the Lord’s call, have to go toward “dealing with” draining circumstances and people. We get annoyed, frustrated, and impatient.
Nate and I have felt all of this first-hand. As many of you know, we feel the Lord has called us to work with pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela. Over the past few years, we’ve faced several obstacles, tons of bureaucracy, and many overwhelming tasks, and we’ve taken it in stride and systematically done whatever was needed because it’s (usually) led to forward progress. It’s all been worth it.
However, I hate being imposed upon and interrupted from “the Lord’s work” of getting Pilgrim House up and running. And there have been plenty of those intrusions: sickness, car problems, broken toilets and water heaters, a bank we had to spend hours on the phone with to get our case straightened out, unnecessary church drama, a dead cat in our garage space. “The Lord has called me to set up a pilgrims’ ministry in Spain!” I yell in my head when one of these things happens that demands my immediate attention. “Stop getting in my way!” I’ve felt that anything that interrupts me from the Lord’s original calling just should not be there.
Over the past year the Lord has been saying, “What if there are times when the imposition is the calling? What if I’m calling you to respond in a Christlike way whether or not it contributes to Pilgrim House?” After all, even before He called us to work on Pilgrim House, He called us to become more like Him. So maybe He allowed our car, toilet, and water heater to break down so we could depend on Him to provide good solutions (which He did) and teach us not to worry. And maybe He put those difficult people in my path because He was calling me to learn how to treat them with compassion and care.
One of my good friends, Ana, has a disabled teenage son. He needs a full-time aide at school and when he’s overly stressed out at home he acts out and needs to be restrained. He might not be able to live on his own when he’s an adult, which means he might be with Ana and her husband forever. One day I asked Ana if she ever felt like she was just at the mercy of her son’s condition – did she struggle with feeling imposed upon? In her wisdom, Ana said that the Lord had purposely placed her son in her family, and that meant that the Lord was specifically calling her to be his mom. It was a high and special calling because it demanded a lot from her, but it was just that – a calling she wanted to fulfill well, not an imposition to just be endured and suffered through.
So, can I get just as enthused about becoming more like Him as I do about serving pilgrims through Pilgrim House? Can I look at some of these interruptions as just part of the process, and patiently face them because overcoming them will help fulfill the calling of becoming more like Christ? Instead of feeling at the mercy of unforeseen circumstances and difficult people, I can look at them as special invitations from the Lord to respond with grace and a spirit that’s worthy of Him, and to not let Satan steal any joy.
In the end it will be worth it. I think I can get excited about that.
Note: We took this photo this summer at a Chicago Fire soccer game. On the left is our niece A, who’s watching our baby fall down and is right about to stand and pick him up. In the middle is K, who’s overwhelmed by the whole experience and wants to block it out. And on the right is R, who feels totally imposed upon by the noise and heat and can’t wait for the game to be over. I thought it was a fun illustration of the attitudes we can adopt in the face of uncomfortable situations.
And a caveat: Some difficult situations probably shouldn’t continue. For a good book on this concept, please read Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud. We highly recommend it.
There was a time when every time I tried to make fried rice, it came out a sticky, goopy, greasy mess. Then I read a Cook’s Illustrated article in which it said their secret to good fried rice was to use day-old rice, rice that had already dried out from sitting in a tupperware in the refrigerator. As Gru would say in Despicable Me, “Light bulb!” My results with cold leftover rice have been much better than with fresh hot cooked rice. If you’re Chinese, you probably already knew to use leftover rice, but growing up I didn’t pay enough attention to my mom’s wonderful cooking (and now that she’s far away, I don’t get to ask her about stuff nearly as much as I’d like)!
The recipe below was adapted from Cook’s Illustrated as well as from a wonderful book called Chinese Cooking Made Easy, by Michael M.T. Lee. I highly recommend Lee’s book as it gives a good foundation of Chinese methods, sauces, and recipes. Thanks, too, to Ray Yau for his excellent tips.
“There were a lot of us, and we all soon became grave and tidy youngsters, because [she] had a most solid character and used to wash us more often than she kissed us.” – The Exploits of Moominpappa, p. 9
This was a wake-up call to me tonight as we read this book to the boys before bed. In this case “she” was the director of the orphanage where Moominpappa grew up and she was of noble character. But – as you can see from the quote – the fruit of her parenting was grave and tidy children who didn’t know they were loved.
I thought about our family, and how we want to help the kids develop solid character. What this means is that a lot of times I’m correcting, disciplining, and lecturing – and not in a nice way. Imagine all of these being said constantly, with zero sense of humor or tenderness:
- “I love you, but you’re being a jerk to your brother right now.”
- “See how we don’t believe what you’re saying right now? It’s because you so often tell us lies and now we can’t trust you” (not said in a nice way)
- “Get down right now! You’re going to fall and die.”
- “Hey, if your friends say hi to you, you have to respond. It’s not good to be so passive. They’re going to think you don’t like them. And then they won’t like you and won’t want to play with you.”
I drone on and on WAY more than I kiss and show affection. And sometimes you see that the kids are tidy and obedient, but grave and sullen.
When I read this passage from the book I felt convicted – I don’t want my kids to grow up tidy yet grave. I want them to grow up knowing how much their mom and dad love them. Washing and correction are of course part of this love and very important for kids – and like I said, we do plenty of that already – but I suppose it’s not necessarily “solid” and edifying washing if my kids don’t feel loved when I’m correcting them. Do they get enough kisses and affection as well? Or do they feel like I’m just constantly telling them what to do?
In this stressful season of having young kids, often I can be so stern and serious – kind of like Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. I realized tonight I don’t want our house to be a place where it’s hard to be a kid. The ideal is to build a home where the kids can enjoy life with us and be corrected in the larger context of love and deep affection, and then grow up and build their own homes of joy, love, and wonder with their kids. I thought of some things I could say or do to help this along:
- Say, “I’m so proud of you for how you handled this situation” more often
- Get off my computer when they’re done with quiet time and spend the time before dinner reading to them or playing games
- Take my time when putting them to bed instead of rushing through their bedtime story and giving them a hurried kiss before I go and enjoy my freedom
- Say “yes” when they ask, “Mommy, can you play with me?”
- And finally, commit to listening and engaging with them when they’re trying to tell a story. Usually I’m busy cooking or working on the computer when they want to talk, and I get bored easily by their stories or think they’re not that important. But Nate keeps telling me, “If you don’t listen to them now, they’re not going to want to talk to you when they’re older. Because to them everything that they’re telling you is important.” So wise. And I’m grateful for the lesson I learned today.
By the way, if you’re looking for a good read-aloud series to read to the kids, we highly recommend Tove Jansson’s Moominland series. Our boys love all the stories about these funny Moomintrolls. The first one is Comet in Moominland and it goes from there. This is the one we were reading tonight:
(photo from amazon.com)
At the end of every year, we look back and say, “Whew, what a year!”
2012 is no different – as I look back, I see Costa Rica, dear faces and places from our summer in the US, different corners of Santiago that we visited for the first time, our new teammates, new friends that visited, and lots and lots of family. Here are some of our favorite things from 2012:
1. Getting Above Santiago
If La Coruña, our previous home, is known for its beaches, Santiago is known for its hills (and rain). The views are pretty spectacular:
2. Costa Rica
In May we traveled to Costa Rica for an International Teams conference. Nate got to spend time with one of his closest college friends, Matt:
3. Time with Grandparents
My parents came to Spain to watch the kids while Nate and I were in Costa Rica, and during the summer we got to spend more time with both sides of the family when we were in the US.
M going after my dad’s IPad:
Getting Ted Drewes’ frozen custard in St. Louis with Grandma and Grandpa:
First-ever baseball game for the boys:
Ocean City, MD, with my family (Nate’s frowning because it was 100 degrees that day, not because he didn’t like hanging with my parents):
The kids couldn’t get enough of their cousins this summer. We got to meet E for the first time:
And we had a raucous time on vacation with Nate’s side of the family:
5. Being Back in the US
We spent June through August visiting family, churches, and partners in the US. It was great to see so many people and drive all throughout the country. One of our favorite things was hanging out in everyone’s spacious backyard. Since we live in an apartment in Spain, we definitely miss having a backyard!
There’s so much beauty around (Garden of the Gods, Colorado):
6. New Friends
Ryan and Andrew, photojournalists with International Teams, spent a month in Spain with us. We loved getting to know them:
We also got to host Jay, Lisa, and their two kids when they drove up to Santiago from Madrid. Originally from California, they now work in a school in Madrid. We spent three days telling stories, exploring the area, and connecting over the expat life. They brought us some special gifts from Madrid’s Taste of America store, too – Reese’s peanut-butter cups and Karo corn syrup! Woo hoo!
7. Building Hunting
We finally reached the stage in the Pilgrim House project where we could start looking for a suitable location for the Welcome Center. It’s been fun to visit different locations and dream:
8. New Carrefour Store Just 5 Minutes Away
OK, I probably shouldn’t be SO excited about having a new Carrefour hyper-store (that’s what they call these grocery-clothing-drug stores, hipermercados) so close, but its opening really was a highlight of the year. Have you ever had a Trader Joe’s, Target, Costco, or Kohls announce they were going to open up close to your house? Can you remember how thrilled you were? And how you braved the crowds and showed up for opening day? Remember how exciting it was to think you now had all this stuff – some of your longstanding favorite stuff, and stuff you didn’t even know you needed – at your fingertips? It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it!
Since the new Carrefour opened on November 15 at 12noon, I’ve been there at least 20 times. I’ve never had a craving for shark or swordfish, so I haven’t picked up any of that yet, but I know it’s there if I want it (they don’t call it a hyper-store for nothing):
9. New Teammates On the Ground
If it weren’t for our teammate Gale, Nate would have had to scoop up this dead kitty all by himself:
And if it weren’t for Danielle, Jeremiah, and Gale, we wouldn’t have gained 10 pounds over Christmas because we wouldn’t have had so many desserts to eat at our team Christmas party and in the days afterward:
Seriously, we love having them here. Sharing life and work as a team of five has been so fun, refreshing, and productive.
10. Hanging Out with These Guys
Some day soon, our kids will leave the house one-by-one and go have their own adventures. This year we’ve been blessed to have had so much time with them, whether it be traveling around the US, hanging out here at home, or taking them to their activities. In the craziness of every day it’s hard to appreciate them fully, but as I review the year I know that our time with them has been special. We’re grateful for each of them and for the life, sweetness, and hilarity they bring to our family.
In all, it was a hectic and full year. Now, like you, we take a deep breath and get ready for 2013! Happy New Year!
We live with this little guy:
He’s 2 years old. He opens things he shouldn’t open, hurls things he shouldn’t hurl, takes apart dollhouses and Lego sets, and bangs and spills and splatters his food. He also throws his body around like it’s made of rubber:
We alternately call him Mr. Destructo or the Incredible Hulk.
This Christmas we’ve had to take extra precautions to make sure he doesn’t get into all the Christmas gifts. Normally we would have lovely visions of piling the presents below the tree, but this year our tree skirt sits empty:
And all the presents are crammed into the bookshelves, high out of reach:
By next year things will be different – he’ll be three years old and we anticipate (hope) he’ll have much more mind and body control. So for now we’ll capture this moment of the chaotic life and enjoy it. Merry Christmas, everyone!