Humans of Latin

By Sophie Furlow Ms. Sjekloca, history teacher   Growing up under communism in Belgrade, most people didn’t celebrate Christmas because Yugoslavia was a secular country. We celebrated New Year’s Eve, when we borrowed from the Western holiday tradition and decorated a tree. That night, I would receive a couple of presents from my mom and grandma. I wasn’t introduced to the concept of Santa Claus until the year I was invited to the Christmas party at the American Embassy, where my mom had recently gotten a job. I was overwhelmed by the fancy holiday cookies, the big tree, and Santa, who was talking to children during the party. Afterwards, my mom told me that, since I had now met Santa, he would drop off some candy at my house on New Year’s. But I didn’t think it was possible that Santa would make a special trip to our house. On New Year’s Eve, following my mother’s instructions, I placed one of my snow boots (we didn’t have stockings) on the windowsill. Lo and behold, the next morning my boot was brimming with candy. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited! Later that day, I told my best friend what had happened. She tried to convince me that my mom had tricked me, but I wouldn’t have any of it. I was a believer.     1111111111]]>