Hey Travelers! At this time of my life, I find myself in a warm, tropical climate. The weather doesn’t usually get under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I am abroad and away from my family. When I turn on the T.V., I see holiday films, like your Hallmark Christmas movies. You know the kind: A corporate girlie from the big city decides to move back to her small hometown. She meets and falls in love with small hometown guy and they live happily ever after. The movie takes place during the Christmas season. There is snow, sparkling lights, and people dressed in layers — complete with big puffy, warm coats and wool scarves and hats. The holiday spirit leaps off the T.V., even though you’re sitting on the couch.
And you know what? For a split second, I was tempted to say woe is me. I’m not home, experiencing the cool winter weather. Nor am I surrounded by my loved ones because I’m abroad where the high is 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t feel like the holiday season…after all, I was sick and spent Thanksgiving alone.
Instead, I got up and decided to set the atmosphere in my house so it did feel like the holidays. On the first day, I went to the store and went on a mini Christmas shopping decoration spree. When I got there, I bought Christmas gadgets and gizmos, whozits, and whatzits galore to make my house feel more festive…like it does in those Hallmark movies. Those gizmos, whozits, and whatzits, included lights, ornaments, reindeer to put on the book shelf. I went to another store and got one thingamabob (not twenty…do you know what movie I am referencing?)…my very first Christmas tree!
Yes, my very first Christmas tree. I have a small one that goes on the table. But aside from my parents, I never put up a Christmas tree of my very own.
And Travelers, let me tell you it wasn’t a small feat. First off, I was sick while putting it up. My energy wasn’t all the way there. Second, I bought one of those artificial trees that comes in a box. When I bought the tree, I thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal to put up. It came in a long, thin box. The box itself didn’t seem that heavy. I truly underestimated what was inside the box.
On the second day, when I opened the box to start building my thingamabob, I was shocked to see how many pieces were inside. It had to be over 100 branches. The company that packed the box did a good job. I put on Christmas music, tried to watch a little tutorial on how to build the tree with the instructions that came with the box, and got to work. I then tried to hang lights on the tree and realized I didn’t have enough.
On the third day, I went back to the store, bought my lights, and tried to figure out how to connect them altogether while hanging them on the tree. Once I figured it out, I was in the homestretch! I then could do the fun part: hanging bulbs on the tree.
With all the decorations up, I felt more in the holiday spirit. Yes, it took a few days, but it was well worth the effort.
If you’re an expat living abroad and you feel a bit homesick, one piece of advice is try to make home, feel like home. If I were in the United States, I would have put up my decorations without a doubt. Why couldn’t I do the same abroad?
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