It's the middle of the night; you're asleep in your warm bed, dreaming of family gatherings and Christmas plans, when you're suddenly awoken to loud voices and banging. Is it a burglur? Is it the end of the world? Did Santa Claus come early? No, no, and no. Music fills the air and you realize that it's just some typical Dominican Christmas caroling. Afterall, what't the fun in caroling when everyone's already awake? This noisy disturbance is what befell my household last night as we lay tucked under our blankets, slumbering peacefully:
Waking to drumbeats and voices, my heart beat quickened as I heard the commotion. Realizing what it was, I rolled over in my bed, hoping they would pass us by quickly so I could continue my snoozing. After a few minutes I realized, They're not moving any farther away.
"Why are they still here?" I mumbled to my husband.
"Maybe they're staying until they can tell they woke up someone." He suggested, as he lumbered out of bed to investigate.
My mind, still slowly waking, pondered this idea. I recalled previous years in our other house, when we woke to carolers passing quickly by, causing noise and disturbance in one minute, but leaving us to go back to our dozing in the next. No, this doesn't make sense.
As I lay there in my room, trying to unravel the mystery, I began to notice certain clues. The drumming- it sounds experienced. And there's a guitar. This isn't just a random group; there are musicians outside.
[Side note: While things are slowly changing, opportunities to learn to play a musical instrument with fluency are available, but not prevelent in our little town of Jarabacoa.]
Suddenly, a voice stood out from the others; a voice that I heard each and every Sunday at our Spanish church.
The lightbulb turned on; I bet it's a group from our church! They had mentioned something about caroling (though in my naïveté I had assumed it would occur much earlier).
I climbed out of bed to inform Daniel of my newly aquired discovery. However, he was not in the living room, as I had expected.
"Daniel," I called quietly.
It was then that I realized the door stood open. Peaking out into the dark night, I could make out a few vehicles, and by now, I had begun to recognize more voices. Timidly, I reatreated back inside, not feeling fit to be seen in my wrinkled pjs and messy hair. They finished their last song, and I mustered the courage to go outside and join Daniel, realizing that in the darkness, they could not see me very well. "Merry Christmas!" they hollered, and proceeded to choose their next victim. As they drove off, we called for our "watch" dog who had somehow slept through the commotion, as did our child, much to my relief.
Crawling back to bed, I tried to slow my racing heart and calm my awakened nerves while feeling strangely appreciative that we were included in this festive tradition. Meanwhile, a few miles away, another family lay in slumber, unaware that they too would be jolted awake by a friendly, and very loud, group of merry Christmas carolers.