This was our second Christmas that we didn’t go back to the States. Last year we spent Christmas Eve with friends and it was such a special celebration. We headed over to our friends, Jeff and Stephanie’s on Christmas Eve, ate delicious food, talked, laughed. Bundled into taxis for midnight mass at St. Mary’s. The next morning Scotty and I hosted a Christmas brunch with about 14 of our friends. It was a great way to spend our first Christmas away from family.
This year we decorated our little flat with cards from friends and family. I haven’t sent out Christmas cards in five years but receiving cards from people who took the time to send them all the way to France reminded me that it is an important tradition. Seeing those cards in our mailbox brightened our day and helped us feel closer to those we love. They also brightened up our flat!
So, a big thank you to everyone who sent us a card! You really made this Christmas special.
After our “mass-athon”, we didn’t get to bed until around 3 Christmas morning, so our morning was pretty relaxed. I bake my mom’s amazing Austrian Coffee Cake and we had a leisurely breakfast and opened a few presents sent over by my parents. We then had a skype date with Scotty’s family. It was fun really fun to be able to see each other and see everyone’s expressions when we opened presents.
And then it was time to head over to our new friend’s place for Christmas dinner. We had a wonderful time with three other couples – the meal was delicious, the setting perfect, and it made for a memorable Christmas.
Everyone at the dinner party has arrived fairly recently in France, with the exception of one person who is French. It was fun to compare notes and experiences. We talked about the adventure and challenges of living abroad and compared travel notes. And then we played Apples to Apples and suddenly it was past midnight and we had to hurry home to skype with my family.
While it is always a bit melancholy to be away from our family and old friends on holidays, it is fun to establish new traditions – carrying on old ones from our families, blending the experiences, and making new friends along the way.
Since Christmas, we’ve been preparing for our move. I just packed up all the Christmas cards and took them over to our new flat. They’re now hanging on a magnetic board and making our new space feel very homey.