On December 13th, our Norwegian teacher (who also loved gnomes) selected a girl in our second grade class to be Santa Lucia. She dressed Kerry in a white gown and arranged a candlelit wreath on her head. We gathered around and sang "Santa Lucia" as Kerry walked down the school hallway carrying Christmas cookies for the other classrooms. I liked the visual.
“Ever been to Jiufen?” I asked Mom.
“You should go! It has a nice view of the sea. It’s supposed to be the city that inspired Spirited Away. And they have the best gweh I’ve ever tasted - your favorite, with taro and the green one with radish or whatever the chewy stuff is.”
She looked skeptical. “How did you get there? You don’t speak the language.”
Two orange tabby brothers followed us home in December. They lived with us for five weeks, snuggling, wrestling, running around like madmen and punching each other in the face, until their owners saw our “found” signs (which had been posted in front of their house for weeks).
Chupa misses them a ton. They shredded furniture, ate my expensive paintbrushes, pawed wet paintings and shoved my brush around whenever I painted, but they were cute and soft fuzzballs.