Sunday, December 25, 2005

Geek Christmas, Kosovo Style

Merry Christmas everyone!  Happy Holidays too. 


It was great to read Eric Mack’s post this morning about the truth behind the Christmas holiday.  We celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth who freely offered himself to bring humanity back into right relationship with the creator God.  I’ve been a little non-plussed at what I’ve seen in the American media lately regarding the whole “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holiday” deal.  For the last week my neighbors, who are all Muslims, have been giving me hearty, “Urimi Festin!” greetings, which means simply, Happy Holiday.  The funny thing is that they mean it with all their hearts.  They don’t understand Christmas really (a situation we’re earnestly trying to remedy) but non-the-less, they hope it’s good for us.  It seems to me that the words matter less than the hearts behind them.

Christmas as a missionary always presents certain challenges.  First, there’s the ministry calendar to “contend” with.  For example, this afternoon we’re having a Christmas “outreach” to which we’ve invited our whole city.  I’ll write about that on my other blog, The other challenge is what to buy for gifts and where to buy them.  Kosovo is not what one would call a shopper’s paradise…or any sort of paradise, really.  We usually end up traveling to Greece a few months before Christmas to buy gifts for our six- and four-year old girls.

But geek gifts…now that is another story.  Several months ago my wife started asking me what I wanted.  I finally settled on a Bluetooth headset.  I started researching them on the internet, since there aren’t any Best Buys around for hands-on shopping.  After much web-browsing, and noticing that no user-reviews ever matches the web-sites reviews, I settled on the Jabra BT250.  These are actually available in the next couple of countries over, but not at low, low, American prices.

So about a month ago I placed my order with an online retailer.  The next issue was how to get it here.  Kosovo is not technically a country, so mail service has all been routed through Albania or Switzerland, until very recently.  Switzerland, you ask?  Yup, Switzerland.  The “safest” way to get things here is to have someone carry them over.  So I had my headset shipped to a colleague who was on study leave in the US. He carried it back with him to Macedonia, where he lives.  It’s only one country away, so that’s pretty close.  Then last week another colleague, who had business in Macedonia, brought it back up for me.

It’s now sitting under the tree, wrapped up and waiting.  It’s really had to work to get here!



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