Christmas Eve: Our friend Tille, from Sri Lanka, joined us for our traditional Bice Family candlelight dinner complete with lamb, cous cous topped with sauteed mushroom and onion, and arugula salad with feta, cranberries and almonds.
DEE FREAKING VINE.
Tille (prounounced Till-ee) brought mint chutney that added amazingness to the entire meal. Tille is single and wonderful and looks amazing for his age. You'd never guess his real age. (Or maybe you would--but again, bad photos!). If you know anyone wanting a wonderful man Till could be your ticket.
We shared a lot of laughs and even some tender moments.
Christmas Day: We drove to Vic's parent's place with our dear friend Abraham. Abraham is an amazing soul. He has seen more, been through more, endured more, triumphed over more, learned more than I can ever EVER comprehend. He is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Do you know what that means?
I'll let Wikipedia explain:
The Lost Boys of Sudan is the name given to the groups of over 20,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were displaced and/or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005); about 2.5 million were killed and millions were displaced. The name "Lost Boys of Sudan" was colloquially used by aid workers in the refugee camps where the boys resided in Africa.
Most of the boys were orphans separated from their families when government troops and government-sponsored militias systematically attacked villages in southern Sudan, killing many of the inhabitants. Many avoided capture or death because they were away from their villages tending cattle at the cattle camps (grazing land located near bodies of water where cattle were taken and tended largely by the village children during the dry season) and were able to flee and hide in the dense African bush. Some of the unaccompanied male minors were conscripted by the Southern rebel forces and used as soldiers in the rebel army, while others were handed over to the government by their own families to ensure protection, for food, and under a false impression the child would be attending school.
Presumably orphaned, they traveled by foot for years in search of safe refuge, on a journey that carried them over a thousand miles across three countries to refugee camps where they resided in Ethiopia and Kenya and in various villages where they sought refuge in South Sudan. Over half died along their epic journey, due to starvation, dehydration, sickness and disease and attack by wild animals and enemy soldiers. Experts say they are the most badly war-traumatized children ever examined.
We met Abraham last winter at a fundraiser for the Chier Foundation. Our friends, Scott and Kelly Wolf are members of the board and invited us to attend. I'm so glad we did.
Vic is now helping to bring Abraham's wife to America. (His specialty is Immigration law). I can't wait to see that reunion.
I've heard bits and pieces of Abraham's story but was able to learn more during our Christmas Day together. On the drive home I said to him, "Abraham. I know the bullet points of your story. I know how many brothers and sisters you have and how many you have lost. I know where you now live and where you work and I've heard about how you qualified to be chosen as one of the boys to come to America. I've heard about your country and the wars and the stories of what it was like to land in a foreign land, having never seen snow, knowing no one. I know you were taken from home at the age of 7 and didn't return until you were 15. But what I really want to know is how does it feel to be Abraham? Tell me what is in your head and in your heart. How have you come so far with a smile now on your face?"
He turned to me and said, "That is such a beautiful question."
Then he paused for a long time.
When he spoke he talked a lot about work. About how he works full-time and goes to school full-time and only gets about 1.5 hours of sleep so he can have a better life. He said he could easily sit in his apartment all day and let the demons get him but he chooses to work and fill his day. He is getting a degree in business at the U. He is preparing a life for himself and his wife and future children. He is amazing.
At one point during our yummy Christmas meal I had to excuse myself and go in the other room so I could cry. I was so tired and I was so sick and I was so sad to not be with my Lucy. And just being in Abraham's presence and hearing his stories ripped my heart out.
The longer I live, the more I realize how we are all survivors. But some more than others. And Abraham is one of them.
It was a great Christmas. I loved spending time with Tille from Sri Lanka and Abraham from Sudan and Peter and Zoë from heaven. It would have been nice to spend more time in my bed (SO FREAKING TIRED!). I'm finally feeling a little more rested and my sickness is on its way out.
I hope you made some great memories too.
Now go watch THIS FILM.