Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.
- Albert Einstein
Monday, December 3, 2012
'Tis the Season
Its that time of year again, for parties, eating, drinking, spending time with family and friends. It always comes with mixed feelings, as I am grateful for the friends I have here, but always miss my family, who are so far away. I have met lots of new people over the past couple of months, and am feeling that my surrogate family is expanding. I am very fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life. Both those that I know in person, and those that I have met through the virtual world.
I lived in the US for almost 8 years now (It will become 8 on Jan 5th). My first Christmas here was spent alone, in my small apartment in downtown Portland. I remember being unable to reach my parents by phone, as they were on vacation in South Africa, and sometime in the evening the power went out, so I was all alone in the dark. It was quite possibly the worst Christmas I've ever had.
Since then I have invited friends over to my house every Christmas day, and have had anything from 2 people to close to 20 stop by. It makes Christmas feel like Christmas to me, if I am able to open up my home, cook for people and share the day.
I could of course go back to the UK for Christmas, but now I have made my own tradition here. It might not be a conventional Christmas spent with family, but my friends out here in the PNW have become my family. I still get so excited about Christmas day that I wake up around 4am (as you can imagine, my husband is not really impressed by that). I try and stay queit as I make my way downstairs and start to prepare the turkey and trimmings.
Then around 8am, when I can stand it no more, I go back upstairs to wake up the husband. He cooks a wonderful breakfast, and we have memosa's, eat then beginning the gifting process. Presents are pulled from under the tree and placed in the relevant piles (myself, hubby and of course the cats :) ). We make our way through, topping up the memosa's as we go. Then its time for me to get back in the kitchen. By now the Christmas music is blasting.
As our friends start to show up, the party begins, with food and drink to spare, we have a merry time, drinking, talking, dancing, drinking, dancing, drinking sleeping.
Other than Christmas day it's self, my favourite holiday moment, is decorating the house. I have boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations, and put up several trees. I love going through the ornament boxes and finding all those memories. Ornaments that my mum and I bought when I was going through a rough patch in life, and my mum was there to support me. Items from my childhood, decorations off the family tree from 30 years ago. We were recently able to add to the collection, ornaments from Ryan's childhood, there are homemade ornaments in there, one's that move, and ones from his grandma.
As bittersweet as Christmas can be, it is certainly a time when you remember loved ones, it's a wonderful occassion to be surrounded by family/friends.